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Meditation myth busters

Ever wanted to sort out meditation fact from fiction?

Meditation is for monks
My mind has to be totally blank
Guru's, chakras & crystals
Too much time and effort
It's a religion
I have to chant and clink bells
The lotus position
I have to be in a quiet place

Meditation is for monks

It is true, monks do meditate but unless you want to be one, you do not need a robe or a monastery to start meditating.

It is also true that monks exude a contentment that many of us would like to feel too, especially in our stressed modern lives. The answers they seek about life’s meaning are vital to us all - how to be happy, how to be healthy, how to cope with life’s ups and downs. Throughout millennia, it is meditation that has been proven to be effective in answering these questions and bring true contentment to those who practice regularly.

My mind has to be totally blank to meditate

You do not have to try and tip everything out of your head before every meditation. Our active minds tend to flit like a butterfly from one thought to the next but with our Mindbody Mastery Program you can learn to slow down your thinking to develop a calm and clear mind - not necessarily an empty one!

There is one particular technique called stillness that will help you to experience the essence of meditation. When mastered it can give you inner contentment that is difficult to describe but wonderful to experience.

It is all about gurus, chakras and crystals

OK, you may not be too sure about some of the lingo but meditation can be as simple as you want it to be. You do not need anything other than your body and mind, and to feel comfortable in your practice.

Some people want to enhance their experience by doing things such as burning essential oils or using particular images and symbols, but you simply need to create an atmosphere of meditation for yourself. Do what best helps you to deepen your practice.

By the way, Chakras are subtle energy centres in the body, but you do not need to know or understand them to meditate.

It takes too much time and effort

You do not have to set aside lots of time each day to reap the benefits from meditation as even a little practice each day will help. However, we all know anything that takes a bit of effort to begin with is often rewarding in the end and meditation is no different. Determine to do a little each day. Even five minutes is a good start. You will find that the time you invest in your practice will be returned to you in other ways like increased productivity at work, the ability to make decisions quickly and confidently, or spending less time worrying about things.

It's a religious practice isn't it?

Meditation is simply about you and your mind. There are no gods to worship or prayers to say. However, while contemplation on the meaning of life and the seeking of solace is a part of many world religions, it is also a part of meditation. It is a great way for you to relax, gain clarity, improve your health, and manage your day.

The Mindbody Mastery Program is about the practice of meditation and is not linked to any religious or secular group. It is open to everyone to participate in and benefit from.

I have to chant and clink bells

You do not have to do this but some people find it deepens their practice of meditation - we call them optional extras! In reality you do not need anything other than your body and your mind. Meditation is all about trying new things so you may find you can relax or concentrate better if you add them to your practice. If something you try does not feel right for you, then simply drop it and continue with what you do find helpful.

I cannot get into the lotus position

Well, being double jointed is a bonus (!) but being able to master this position is not necessary. Good posture is important but even more important is that you feel at ease using a position that you like - you do not have to sit crossed legged on a cushion! If you can, sit with your back straight and head upright. If you have a back problem, you can lie down. However, you need to make sure you do not fall asleep so create a position where you remain alert.

I have to be in a quiet place

Being in a quiet place is great but with our busy lives we know it can be hard to find. But all is not lost! In the Mindbody Mastery Program we support and encourage you to experiment in more challenging situations so you can deepen your meditation and strengthen your mind. A technique you will learn is to ‘act without reacting’ - to register and process what is happening around you, but not be drawn into it.

Once you have mastered meditation in your preferred space at your pre-designated time, we recommend that you gradually introduce increasingly challenging distractions such as noise, uncomfortable surroundings and learn to overcome them. Once you get the hang of it, you can meditate anywhere, anytime.