Posted by



Eight Myths About Meditation

Recently I taught a unit on Eastern philosophy and spirituality to a group of high school seniors. In order for them to fully understand and appreciate what we were reading and discussing we began a multi-week series of meditation sessions. Most of them had never meditated; a few had experienced some form of relaxation or visualization practice with various athletic coaches. I have taught meditation practice for many years to all ages and was heartened, even thrilled, by the responses of these eighteen year olds, future leaders of our world. (I use some of their comments, with permission, in this article.)

Myth #1: Meditation is not a way to relax

Relaxation is one of the benefits of developing a regular meditation practice. Guided by a skillful teacher, you learn to relax tension in head muscles, particularly the jaw, and neck and shoulder muscles. A correct posture, achieved by imagining a piece of string kept taut and coming from above and moving down the back of the top of the head and spinal column, helps to hold the head and shoulders back allowing for the chest cavity to open, more air to circulate in the lungs, and for the great solar plexus muscle between the lungs and the abdomen to act as a bellows.

It is important to sit with a straight back either on the floor or ground or in a chair with your hands loosely resting on your knees. As more oxygen enters the blood stream, every cell is fully energized. Fingers and toes tingle. Breath deepens and slows. After only some practice a relaxed body allows for inner mental spaciousness and lays the ground to begin intensive concentration practices—for beginners usually based on the reference point of the rise and fall of the breath—until you feel confident that you can concentrate on the breath with single-minded attention.

Myth #2: Meditation does not sync the mind and body

One of my students wrote that by focusing on the breath our mind and body synchronize, increasing our blood flow, oxygen intake, and even mental capacity. Meditation is about simplicity. Every person has reasons to be happy, reasons to be thankful, and finding them is as easy as focusing on the one common gift everyone can be thankful for: the breath.

Myth #3: Meditation practices do not sharpen the mind

Concentration practices are among the most intense mental exercises you will undertake. It is normal for the mind to be filled ceaselessly with thoughts. As you are able to concentrate more and more on the breath and like a laser beam shine a thin intense ray of concentration onto your breath, yoking your mind with the breath, you become more aware of the frantic nature of your roiling thoughts. Do not tense the mind to reject the thoughts, rather practice what one of my meditation teachers called “Teflon” mind; do not let anything stick. As thoughts, emotions, memories, the whole of our internal Easter parade floats by, name the thought and let it go. After only a few sessions of this practice, and using the breath as a constant reference point—“come back to the breath”—I will remind students again and again, you will find that your mind becomes clear and diamond sharp. Relaxed body and concentrated mind is what we are practicing.

Myth #4: Meditation is not a focusing activity

Another student wrote that our class meditation was deeply relaxing but also a focusing activity. He describes how in deep meditation all perception of space melted away, even the perception of where parts of his body were. By stripping away concentration to the outside world, he was left with only the feeling of existence. He reports that this psychological presence was the simplest and most elegant form of existence.

Myth #5: Meditation does not heighten awareness of the present moment

In a deep, relaxed but concentrated state it is easier to accept the idea that all we have to experience is each precious individual moment. We can let go of the past and not worry about the future. We begin to realize that every prior moment was necessary to bring us to this present one, and this chain of continuity can be relied on until the last nano-second that we are breathing.

Myth #6: Meditation does not allow for a sense of inter-connection with the world

Meditation allows us to have a penetrating connection with the world through the realization that we all exist in the same ocean of breath—we breathe the same air and are interconnected through this simple act. This realization allows us to feel connected in a new and vital way. We breathe the same air as Hitler, Idi Amin, Gandhi and Mother Teresa. A student states that through just one simple breath you embrace the wholeness of the earth and all of its creatures, becoming part of something greater than just self.

Myth #7: Meditation does not encourage a sense of well-being

One student eloquently describes this sense of well-being. He writes, so for me, meditation is an act that is passionately active, one that bases its practice on improving the human condition, on bettering the well-being of others around us. When I end a session on meditation, I can already feel the effect that a mode of deep contemplation and reflection has on me. For one, with my body relaxed and at ease, I am naturally happier; I am more prone to laugh, to smile, and to interact with others. And with my mind cleared of the clutter, I possess a natural tendency to exude a feeling of optimism that catches on with those around me. Thus meditation influences others and me.

Myth #8: Meditation does not bring the freeing power of meditative perception

This student offers a powerful summation of her experience. (Possibly all our experiences.) She writes that by letting go of my body, but also being completely aware and grounded in my seat, I feel I was able to connect to some greater power. Coming out of meditation I was often astonished by the greatness of humanity and all it could achieve with the possible realization and development and gentleness that accompanies this type of enlightenment. It is essential that we realize the power of our perception, because I have learned that ultimately, it is in my power alone to control and make peace with everything I face, because what I choose to believe in can be all that exists.



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  • By Darius Bendickson on 29 February 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful article. Thanks for providing these details.

  • By Hisako Chaskey on 29 February 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Hello my friend! I wish to say that this post is awesome, nice written and include approximately all important infos. I would like to see more posts like this .

  • By Lia Gramlich on 2 March 2012 at 2:25 pm

    An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  • By Dell Hissam on 4 March 2012 at 5:55 am

    I think other web-site proprietors should take this site as an model, very clean and magnificent user genial style and design, let alone the content. You’re an expert in this topic!

  • By Dorthea Sonny on 4 March 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I hope you continue to write simply because I share your views and I would adore to read much more of your material. This is amazing info.

  • By Demetrice Gerwe on 5 March 2012 at 6:16 am

    I really appreciate this post. I have been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thank you again

  • By Star Lavery on 6 March 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this web site. Thank you, I’ll try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your website?

  • By Yetta Morter on 6 March 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Love the layout of the site. Looks like a theme I’m using.

  • By Judie Boaz on 17 March 2012 at 11:52 am

    Great work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the net. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher! Come on over and visit my web site . Thanks =)

  • By Shalanda Adlam on 17 March 2012 at 11:53 am

    What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It positively helpful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute & aid other users like its helped me. Great job.

  • By Blair Vea on 17 March 2012 at 11:54 am

    Needed to create you this little word to say thank you again for your gorgeous basics you have provided on this page. This is quite pretty open-handed of people like you to provide unhampered what a number of people could have offered for sale as an e book in order to make some cash on their own, precisely now that you could have done it if you wanted. Those thoughts as well worked to provide a easy way to be aware that other people online have the identical interest the same as mine to figure out much more related to this condition. I believe there are numerous more pleasant instances in the future for folks who check out your blog post.

  • By Kathey Arguelles on 18 March 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Usually I do not read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, very nice article.

  • By Beatrice Groomes on 20 March 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be at the net the simplest factor to take into account of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while other folks think about issues that they just do not recognise about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as smartly outlined out the whole thing with no need side-effects , people could take a signal. Will likely be again to get more. Thank you

  • By Alfred on 20 March 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Was initially investigating this specific products by making use of google when I stumbled with your web-site. An excellent quantity great subject material on below. Unquestionably 1 for my favs. Lance

  • By Inspirational Quotes on 22 March 2012 at 10:20 am

    Wow, superb blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is fantastic, let alone the content!. Thanks For Your article about 50Myths about Meditation | .

  • By Rotger on 23 March 2012 at 6:51 pm

    What a terrific online site. I’m happy I found it.It’s awesome to scan an item intriguing I are unable to get subscription checklist

  • By Elton on 26 March 2012 at 12:53 pm

    I just couldn’t depart your internet site previous to suggesting that I remarkably really enjoyed the conforme information anyone present to your visitors? Will probably be back frequently in order to check out up on new posts

  • By jas on 11 April 2012 at 8:00 am

    yoga is really important. the yoga has been started by Indians and there many indian’s who practice yoga daily and feel energetic after doing it.

  • By Latia Wenzl on 27 April 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful info specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

  • By Inspirational Quotes on 1 May 2012 at 12:04 pm

    50Myths about Meditation | I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty. You’re amazing! Thanks! your article about 50Myths about Meditation | 50janetlevine.comBest Regards Veronica

  • By Despina Teem on 26 August 2012 at 9:44 pm

    It is perfect time to make a few plans for the long run and it’s time to be happy. I’ve learn this post and if I may I want to suggest you some interesting issues or advice. Maybe you could write next articles relating to this article. I want to read even more issues about it!

  • By Chelsea Mussmann on 4 September 2012 at 4:02 am

    You made some clear points there. I looked on the internet for the topic and found most guys will agree with your website.

  • By Bandana Anak Bayi on 20 December 2012 at 7:28 pm

    I think this is one of the most important info for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things, The web site style is great, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment