- By Dean Telano
Ten Myths about Mindfulness. Kind Karma® Awaken with Meditation
"Awaken with Meditation" is part of Kind Karma's Mission Program called, "TALK" - Teach All Loving Kindness. TALK is about teaching others how to connect with their own innate Loving Kindness and building a global community of Kind Karma Creators. TALK is a call-to-action and its aim is to teach people specific methods of how to choose kindness in their lives, and to spread Kind Karma® to those with whom they share the world. Awaken with Meditation is one such method to assist in this calling, as it plants the seeds of positive change through holistic health, harmony, balance and self-empowerment.
In "Awaken with Meditation" we teach: "Meditation is a life-long practice, and you will benefit most by not attaching or holding onto the results of your daily practice. Just do the best you can every day, and then let go. After a particular session, if you feel the need to reflect upon or process what happened during your meditation, then make a contract with yourself - a gentle agreement, that upon completion of your reflection you will let go of whatever you reflected on. Stick to it! Personal contracts only have meaning when you uphold the integrity of that contract. Just remember what we say in Rahini Yoga®: 'Meditation is the art of letting go, not the art of holding on.' With meditation, if you feel a need to hold on to something, then hold onto FAITH." (Dr. Dean Telano).
During Kind Karma® "Awaken with Meditation" training courses, we filter through the myths, misnomers, misinformation and confusion about meditation and mindfulness. You can say, we "awaken" our understanding of what meditation and mindfulness is, and what it's not. We teach that mindful meditation is not about turning off the mind, but awakening our mind, awareness or attention.
"Awaken with Meditation is a journey of a lifetime, and each inner journey begins with the first mindful breath." - Dean Telano
10 Myths about Mindfulness
If we can expose these kinds of beliefs about mindfulness as myths, we can remove one barrier to being in our lives in a far more profound way. Most of us find it challenging enough to consistently practice mindfulness, even without having serious misgivings about its main principles, beliefs or foundations.
You can use the following list as a guide to improve self-awareness and as a means to discover insights about your daily thoughts, mental, physical and emotional responses, actions and behaviors.
MYTH #1: Mindfulness is the Same as Positive Thinking
When we practice mindfulness, we are practicing being with all our mind states - the thinking (includes good or not so good thoughts), engaged, critical, and autopilot mind. At times, being mindful means being aware of these mind states and how they communicate, combine or alternate with one another.
MYTH #2: Mindfulness is a Quick Fix
It takes discipline to practice mindfulness, and time to unlearn the patterns of a lifetime, so letting go of particular expectations, being patient and trusting in the process is a helpful attitude to adopt. We have to build, strengthen and develop our "mindfulness muscles," especially if we have self-induced mindfulness muscle atrophy through disuse. We might also have to reshape or resolve our attitude towards mindfulness, such as frustration or impatience.
MYTH #3: Practicing Mindfulness is about Learning how to Relax
Practicing mindfulness is not about learning how to relax. You might relax when you practice mindfulness or meditation, but then you might not. If you are unable to relax, this doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong. We are not practicing to achieve any particular mind state but merely noticing our experience whatever it may be. Mindfulness is just being... mindful (yes, there's more to productive mindfulness, however, that's for another blog post).
MYTH #4: When We Practice Mindfulness We are Learning how to Empty Our Minds
Being mindful is not trying to empty our mind of conscious thought (we need those!). Rather, we are learning to observe our thoughts as passing mental events or visual happenings and respond to them (upon interpretation and contemplation) with greater accuracy and authenticity. (“React Less, Adapt More and Respond Positively or Neutrally.” - Dr. Dean Telano).
MYTH #5: I Can't Practice Mindful Meditation because I think too much
This is a common misconception because it's the nature of the mind to be busy and always looking for new things or exploring creative ideas (good news!). When we practice, we are learning to let go of our overwhelming, unexpected or intrusive thoughts and return to a point of focus, such as our breath or number counting. Eventually, our minds will quickly wander again, and the instruction remains the same: as soon as you realize your mind has gone for a walk (or a brisk jog, for some of us!), acknowledge this as ‘thinking’ or 'being' and bring it back to the focal point without any judgment (or mental gossip!).
MYTH #6: Being Mindful Means I Should Not Think about the Past or Future
When we talk about “living in the moment” we don’t mean living without any regard to the past or future consequences. It simply means paying attention to our experience in the present moment, whenever we can. The past has already happened and can’t be changed; the future will be determined by what we do now (and often doesn't work out as exactly as we planned it). Hence, the present moment is the only moment where there is real opportunity to do something different.
MYTH #7: The Benefits of Mindfulness will Increase if I Practice for a Longer Time
As with meditation, little and often is better than longer and occasionally. It's better to make mindfulness part of our everyday life rather than just wheeling it out when things are difficult or when we remember to do it. Remember, being mindful does take lots of raw commitment and a rightful attitude.
MYTH #8: I Have to Sit or Walk to Experience Mindfulness
Mindfulness meditation doesn’t just mean a sitting or walking practice. We can be mindful or meditate informally by intentionally paying attention to our experience as it unfolds without judging it. So, next time you want to experience "being in the moment" avoid thinking about your "to-do list" (or looking at your to-do list App). Just, simply be.
MYTH #9: Mindfulness is a Linear Process or Practice
Practicing mindfulness is not a linear learning process - it involves the constant expanding and redefining of our initial intention and attitude. Often we have to learn the same lessons over and over again (karma, if that's your persuasion). Let's face it, sometimes our attention feels very focused, but then at other times, very distracted. Practicing the art of mindfulness is a life's journey and similar to any journey, it provides numerous opportunities for learning or "taking it in". We have to cultivate mindfulness, and most of the time, this is visceral, and not a linear process or experience.
MYTH #10: Mindfulness is a Passive Process
Yes, there are some mindfulness techniques that can calm the mind, relax the body and reduce stress levels. However, there are plenty of mindfulness based techniques that are used actively - as a wisdom insight practice - providing invaluable information about how your mind works in tandem with your emotions, feelings, senses, reactions and responses. This is the investigative and engaged quality of mindfulness, and it holds the promise for finding peace with your present moment experience and enrich your understanding (insight) about yourself.
"There is no fail in the practice of mindfulness, unless you are too focused on the immediate result, outcome or the experiences that sometimes occur because of it. Just try to get a sense of being and allow the present moment to unfold, expand and then, become." - Dean Telano
Mantra Meditation Blog:
Rahini Yoga® Meditation Posture Blogs:
Kind Karma® A Global Movement of Inspiring Others to Create & Manifest Daily Kindness"
© 2019. All Rights Reserved. Dean Telano.