There are times when our body is so overwhelmed with stress and the pains of living that all we need is the tranquility of silence. That’s where meditation comes in. We have to take moments to let our mind experience calmness. We’re often so busy we forget to pause and simply meditate. I’m talking about an exercise that is more beneficial to our existence as human beings.
If you’ve done meditation before or currently do, it’s not uncommon to hear some far-fetched stories about what it is. Or what it means or does to the mind and body. Misconceptions and myths are everywhere. Meditation is not left out.
As with everything else, people fear what they cannot grasp or understand. Rather than learn or ask, they spread myths around. This article is aimed at debunking the myths arising out of ignorance.
What you should know about meditation?
Perhaps the myths about meditation stem from the fact that there is no widely accepted definition. It shouldn’t deviate from the crux of the matter though, because meditation is something we can’t put in a box. Meditation is an art. It involves submitting yourself: body and mind to focus.
The word meditation comes from meditatum, a Latin term that means to ponder. It’s a way to maintain and improve awareness and attention in the ‘here and now’. It’s okay to think about the future, but we should embrace the present.
History of meditation
Meditation began a lot of years ago. It’s not a novel practice. Historians claim it has always been an important part of the earliest forms of the Vedic, or early Hindu, schools in ancient India.
It is also believed that as far back as the 6th to 4th centuries BCE, the Chinese Taoist and Indian Buddhist traditions began to create and define various meditation practices.
In the West, it is claimed that historical figures such as St. Augustine, Philo of Alexandria and the Desert Fathers of the Middle East, had a say in the origins of meditation.
Benefits of meditation
Meditation has several benefits, but here are some few important ones.
- Meditation helps reduce stress
Sometimes we want to just look for a place to wind down. We think we need a drink or two, or a chat with friends. The truth is that we need time to take stock of the moment alone. We don’t have to panic about everything.
When you feel stressed out, all you have to do is meditate to relax the mind and body. When we are stressed, our body is automatically tensed up. This has a bad effect on our brain and thought process. It makes us anxious in the long-term. Meditation will ease things up.
- Helps you focus
We all need focus. Everything we do demands some form of determination and perseverance. Meditation will improve your cognitive ability. There are different ways you can meditate to increase focus. The Sufi meditation, Hindu meditation, and Vipassana are just a few. You’ll achieve a lot by getting that mind to focus.
- Meditation helps you deal with addiction
Addiction is never easy to get out of. It takes great willpower to overcome. With the power of meditation, the chains of addiction can be broken. Vipassana meditation is particularly useful to people with issues like alcoholism and drug addiction. A focused mind committed to getting rid of an addiction is the key.
- Meditation increases creativity
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve heard about someone famous who just can’t do without meditation. That’s because it boosts creativity. It helps them stay focused and fixed on what they want to accomplish. Meditation helped them find creative ways to do amazing things.
5 common myths about meditation
Since meditation transcends the physical, why should any position you adopt matter? It doesn’t matter whether you stand, sit, lay or crouch. The most important thing is to stay positive. Any other thing is secondary.
- It’s a religious practice
This comes off as laughable really. No doubt, meditation is not a religion or a religious practice! Rather, it cuts across all kinds of religions. Whether you’re a Christian or Buddhist, you can meditate and experience its benefit.
- Meditating for long hours to avail the benefits
If that’s the case, I reckon some people are in the grave still waiting. The fact is, you can’t put the time factor on meditation. It’s all about being effective and knowing what you want. You can spend 4 hours thinking you’re doing a good job. Another spends considerably lesser and achieves a lot.
- It takes years to feel the benefits
No. It’s not instant, but years? Come on! Many people attest to seeing results within minutes. You can count on the effects to begin to show. You only have to be genuine about it.
- The mind should be empty of thoughts
The only time the human mind stops thinking is when we’re dead. So why should meditation be any different? We have to be calm to channel such thoughts to better use. I dare say you can’t focus with an empty mind. It’s okay to have thoughts. Don’t just let them overwhelm the process.
If you’ve never considered meditation, it’s never too late. You don’t have to be a grandmaster to experience a plethora of benefits.