Here are some of the most common reasons people don't pursue meditation. Read on and find out why they are complete misconceptions!!
1.) I can't stop thinking.
No, you can't! It is impossible to stop thinking by thinking about it. Many people won't even try meditation, or they will try once and quit for this exact reason. It's the nature of the mind to think just as it is the eyes to see, so to completely shut out thought will certainly not happen during meditation. Now, don't get me wrong, meditation is known for "clearing the mind " but it doesn't just magically happen when you sit down and close your eyes. What will happen with practice is that you will become more aware of the subtle levels of thought and impulse. Eventually, you will experience the silence and stability that underlies all thinking where you'll naturally find that your thought process will stop for a moment or two in meditation. Thoughts will always be a part of meditation from the beginner to the most advanced practitioner, and in no way does it mean you are doing it wrong. I'll explain this further when covering the five essentials of meditation.
2.) I will have to work very hard to meditate correctly.
Ahhh, actually you won't. Meditation is a natural process and is practiced by many people effortlessly. The only effort required from you is the willingness to set aside several minutes a day to do it. It does take a commitment to refocus your attention over and over again on the focus of your meditation even when you feel like giving up. That's all you have to do. This is, in fact, the principal mechanism of the practice and leads to many of the benefits of the training. For example, if you are focusing on the sensation of your breath and your mind moves to thoughts of the future or past, patiently shift your attention back to the focus of the breath over and over again, it doesn't matter how many times you need to do it. Anyone can meditate, and most do it easily the very first time.
3.) I am so busy, I don't have time for this.
This the most common excuse that I hear from people. How long do we wait in line for a latte or how much time do we spend on social media or watching our favorite HBO series? Everyone can find 5 - 15 minutes each day and when we begin to develop a consistent practice we understand that the time put into the practice will come back in our daily life two-fold as we start to be more emerged in our present moment experience. Meditation is a perfect way to reset and reinvigorate the mind and nervous system. It's kind of like taking a quick nap. If you meditate every day for a short period you will receive more benefits than sitting on social media for an extra 5 minutes.
4.) Meditation will make you too relaxed to be competitive.
No!! This training is exactly what you need as an athlete. Throughout my career, the most intimidating athletes were those that were calm, focused and infused with intensity in any situation. Most people have this belief that being hyped up is the only way to get motivated, doing everything they can to get jacked up. Caffeine, red bull, and a competitive outlook, beating themselves up when things don't go as expected all lead to more strain on the nervous system than good. With meditation, you won't become too lazy or too relaxed, instead, you'll gain focus, creativity and be better able to respond to changes in you situational environment. With your increased mindful awareness, you'll gain trust that whatever is required from you at any moment in the form of intensity, skill, ability, aggressiveness and know how will naturally flow from your mind and nervous system.
5.) My knees don't bend like that.
The lotus position or sitting cross-legged is not required for a successful meditation. For example, I teach people to meditate sitting in a chair with their back supported. That's exactly how I've practiced since day one because my hips and knees don't, in fact, bend like that due to the years of punishment they endured throughout my pro hockey career. You can meditate in any position you like as long as it's comfortable and your spine is fairly straight up and down. You can even meditate while standing or walking. Keep in mind that meditating lying down usually leads to falling asleep which is great, nothing wrong with a good nap, but it is not meditation.
6.) I'll have to wear different clothing.
No, you do not. You don't need to wear special clothing or accessories to meditate. Wear what you like, sit where you want and follow the techniques that best suit you and your lifestyle. Meditation is a personal experience, and you do it the way you want to. Don't pay attention to those people who consider themselves more of a meditator because they practice in a certain way or wear a particular thing.
7.) I'll have to change my religion.
I'm not religious, nor have I ever been. Meditation is a personal experience, not a religion. It's about closing your eyes, sitting in stillness and silence, and reconnecting with who you truly are in the present moment. It leads to many different benefits that are often unique to the individual. Improved focus, attention, sleep quality, goal clarification, and relaxation are just to name a few. Although many meditation techniques have originated from ancient eastern religions and philosophies, modern day practice doesn't depend on either. It doesn't matter what your background or beliefs are you can meditate. If anything, I'm religious about my daily meditation routine because of how much it gives back to me.
That's it for the top 7 most common meditation misconceptions. I hope you enjoyed them and by all means fire away with any questions.