5 Common Misconceptions About Meditation (What Do You Believe?)

When you hear the word ‘meditation,’ what do you think of?

A tunic-wearing dude with a man-bun sitting peacefully on a hill in some far-off land?

A tall and trim blonde in designer gear with a $13 green juice in-hand?

Things that are new and different often seem strange and unwelcoming. But what if you put your preconceived notions to the side and opened yourself up to opportunity? You do it every time you forgive a friend or try a new food (remember when you thought you hated Brussel sprouts?). So why not do it with a powerful practice that can transform your mind, body, and spirit? (Yeah, it’s that good!)

There are a lot of misconceptions about meditation. Here are five of the most common.

1. Meditation is hard to do.

Got yourself? Check. Got a couple minutes? Then you’re ready to meditate! That’s right, all you need is yourself and a little time. Forget exotic lands, beachside cliffs and veggie drinks that cost half your rent. Meditation is about you, not your outfit, location or social status. So long as you’ve got you, you’ve got the skills to meditate.

2. Meditation is a religious practice.

Sure, there are people who use meditation to deepen their religious or spiritual commitments, however, many techniques (including our Journey Meditation practice) are non-denominational. Practicing meditation won’t make you a Buddhist, Scientologist or anything else, but it will give you clarity on who you do want to become as a person in this world.

3. It takes years to see results.

Meditation isn’t like preparing for the Olympics: it doesn’t take years of work to get in shape. Your mind is flexible, like a rubberband, and it responds quickly to mental workouts. Just one five-minute meditation practice can help you feel calmer, grounded, and more focused. If just a few minutes can do all of that, imagine the benefits of meditating everyday!

4. Meditation takes too much time.

A little bit of meditation can go a long way. If you don’t have 20 minutes, 15 will do just fine. If you don’t have 15 minutes, try getting in a quick ten. And if that’s still too much, take five minutes at the beginning or end of your day to just sit with yourself. Try this simple, easy Journey meditation, which only takes ten minutes, and see what you can accomplish in the time it takes to make your bed. [LINK TO A MEDITATION]

5. Meditation is the same as relaxing.

Meditation is an active practice. When you relax you turn off your mind, but when you meditate you focus your mind, typically on your breath. Meditation is a great way to tame those endless thoughts [LINK TO TRAINING THE MONKEY MIND]---like why does my dad still nag me about becoming a lawyer or how many times is my boss going to use the word ‘literally’ in today’s meeting---and that requires more effort than just hanging out.

Are there any meditation myths you believe? Tell us what you think in the comments below!