3 big myths about mindfulness meditation by Rachel Long
As mindfulness meditation grows in popularity so do the misunderstandings. These commonly held fallacies can get in the way of experiencing the benefits of the practice. Check out whether you’re holding onto one of these 3 big myths about mindfulness meditation.
Myth One: Mindfulness meditation should be pleasant
People often believe that when they sit for meditation, they should experience a quietening of the mind and waves of peace should permeate their body and mind. While this may happen, it often doesn’t. (the benefits flow on after the practice) More likely when you sit for meditation you will simply encounter your everyday, very ordinary mind. At first it can be rather surprising to discover just how chatty and distracted the mind is. And this revelation can be an unpleasant experience, because we want the mind to be quiet and peaceful and its not.
However, this is a very workable situation. One of the aims of mindfulness meditation is to understand more deeply the relationship of your physical, mental and emotional self. And this is the starting point; paying close attention to what is actually going on in your mind and body with acceptance and non-judgment. And funnily enough, when you’re no longer fighting, resisting or being irritated by your busy mind, a quietening of the mind tends to occur.
Myth Two: Mindfulness meditation is for calm, quiet people
What I’ve noticed about people who come to meditation classes is that there is some sort of suffering happening in their life. It may be illness, stress, anxiety, insomnia, relationship issues or simply a feeling of overwhelm from the demands of life.
I’ve noticed when people learn meditation they find a new way of relating to whatever is causing the suffering which often involves meeting the difficulties of life with equanimity, rather than meeting difficulties with more stress. So while a sense of calm is often the outcome of practising meditation regularly, calm is generally not the place people are starting from.
Rest assured its completely natural to feel like your mind is too busy and your body doesn’t want to sit still when you embark on learning meditation.
Myth Three: I don’t have time for mindfulness meditation
One of the greatest gift of mindfulness meditation is that there are “formal” practices, where you carve time out for a designated sitting practice. And there are “informal” practices, which can be incorporated seamlessly into everyday ordinary activities.
Additionally, if you examine closely how you spend your time each week, you may find that hours are taken up by activities that don’t nourish your mind or body. Things like aimlessly scrolling through your social media feed, watching TV, or internet browsing in the name of research for something you don’t really need. If you took away 15 minutes a day from such activities, you may find yourself with time to meditate A nourishing activity that rewards you in ways such as improving your mood. Keep your eye out for the next blog where I share exactly how mindfulness meditation improves mood.
About the writer:
Rachel has immersed herself in the study, practice and teaching of mindfulness-based practices for over 15 years. She has honed her craft by teaching extensively in a range of settings, such as retreats, teacher training courses, workplaces and community classes. As a trained counsellor, Rachel has also taught mindfulness in clinical settings and trauma sensitive populations.
With over 15 years of teaching experience, Rachel knows exactly what the obstacles and pitfalls to learning mindfulness are, and is expert at facilitating an easy, enjoyable learning experience.
Rachel teaches the 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at Manly Yoga. You can find more information about this course including term dates by following this link