Recently, I shared my meditation practice and the impact it’s had on my life with a new friend. She was intrigued, but her demeanor immediately changed. I noticed her becoming more cautious in her word and subject choices, as though she was in the company of someone who wasn’t as real or human as everyone else.

To correct her assumptions, I shared a funny story about my disdain for a parking attendant at my yoga studio who rules her lot like a dictator and always puts me in a corner with several cars blocking me in. My friend smiled and confessed that she was relieved to hear that have these kinds of thoughts and experiences. My mention of meditation had led her to conclude that somehow I’d ascended to enlightened supremacy and was no longer a real person. This gave me quite a laugh. I embrace my negative emotions and accept my imperfections willingly. This comfort developed because of my meditation practice.

Many people misunderstand meditation. Consequently, they miss out on one of the most stabilizing, uplifting, and empowering practices of life. Here are ten myths exposed to help clear the mystery from meditation:

10 Meditation Myths

1. Meditation is for people who are or are not religious. Meditation is for anyone who wants to clarity, relaxation, quiet and respite from the chaos of life. It is not a religious or spiritual act, though one can make it so.

2. Meditation suppresses the desire and drive to change your life. Though one could use meditation to suppress desires and drives, I’ve practiced creative meditation for decades; I was fortunate to have a teacher who taught me to meditate when I was five-years-old. Creative meditation has enabled me to catch the vision of the life I want to live and then focus my energies on creating it, especially when circumstances seemed bleak, or transcending them felt impossible.

3. Meditation doesn’t “do” anything, it doesn’t have any real benefits. A regular meditation practice increases calm, clarity (the ability to see what is clearly and thus make better choices), and happiness while reducing stress and fear. My guided meditations create self-worth, increase confidence, develop a mindset of prosperity and deepen one’s connection to their higher self.”Neuroscientists have found that meditators shift their brain activity to different areas of the cortex – brain waves in the stress-prone right frontal cortex move to the calmer left frontal cortex. This mental shift decreases the negative effects of stress, mild depression, and anxiety. There is also less activity in the amygdala, where the brain processes fear.” Colin Allen, Psychology Today

4. Meditation is hard to learn. Meditation at its essence is learning to shut off mental chatter. It is easy to learn to meditate but challenging to shut off the chatter. Concentrating only on one’s inhale and exhales, focusing on a word mantra or prayer can help. Yet, most people find that following guided meditation is the easiest way to get started.

5. You have to sit crossed legged and say OM. Many people in Asia choose to meditate this way and are comfortable doing so. It isn’t necessary to sit a certain way or to chant. The most important thing is to get in a comfortable position and follow a practice that feels good. Discomfort defeats the entire purpose of meditation.

6. Meditation is praying. If one defines prayer as asking God for things and then thanking Her for it, meditation is not prayer. Spiritual meditation works from the premise that the quiet mind is the portal to Divine wisdom, communion with Spirit and shifting one’s life energies.

7. People who meditate don’t get upset anymore. Meditation improves one’s ability to handle life’s challenges, reduces one’s identification with the ego, and helps one to think before acting. It does not transform one into a Stepford wife or placid smile wearing weirdo.

8. Meditation is running from life. Meditation is equipping oneself to see more clearly and handle life calmly and consciously. It creates altitude over the game of life, helping one to see the whole field before making a play. Guided meditations work specifically to empower one with confidence, a mindset of abundance, entitlement to good and a connection to Source. Meditation is running to life.

9. One kind of meditation is better than others. No meditation is better than another. The best meditation for you is the one you will do again tomorrow.

10. Some people meditate wrongly. There are many types of meditation (mindfulness, transcendental, walking, creative, chanting, guided). One may be right for you today and another tomorrow. The only wrong way to meditate is not to meditate.

~ Cynthia


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