Meditation: Misconceptions and Benefits

There are many reasons why people choose to learn to meditate, and these reasons are as individual as you are. Most people that come to meditation have a sense that something is missing in their lives. Meditation can help to identify what you really want out of life and clarify goals.

I (Rosanne) came to meditation as a way to relive stress and learn to respond to life rather than react, but I’ve found that the benefits have profoundly changed my life on every level: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Here are some common reasons that people mediate, the misconceptions and the benefits of meditation:

Reasons people meditate

  • Activate healing response or prevent disease
  • Learn to focus and be less distracted
  • Relieve insomnia
  • Reduce stress
  • Help to improve focus and make better decisions
  • Help to feel calmer, relaxed, centered
  • Help through life transition, recover after trauma or tragedy
  • Increase creativity
  • Increase performance in sports or work
  • Good for brain connections and memory

Meditation Misconceptions 

  • I need to stop thinking- It is the nature of the mind to think, although we cannot completely stop thinking the practice of meditation allows us to not get carried away and identify with our thoughts, but to understand that our true self is the “thinker of the thoughts”. When we realize that we are thinking, just gently return your attention back to the focus of your mediation.
  • There is only one way to meditate-There are many different forms of meditation, try out a variety to see if there is one way that you especially like. Mindfulness practices as well as breath awareness, mantra, open awareness, walking meditation and body relaxation are some of many meditation techniques.
  • I have to sit on the floor in an uncomfortable position and can’t move- The point of meditation is not to be uncomfortable, but rather to be able to quiet the noise of your mind and get in touch with your true self. Just sit in an upright position keeping the spine straight, sitting in a chair or on a cushion on the floor is fine, as long as you can sit for the desired time.
  • I’m too busy to meditate- Most of us can spare 5 minutes a day, and meditating for 5 minutes is better than not meditating at all. Instead of spending time surfing the internet or watching TV, meditation will relieve stress, and rejuvenate you. Prioritize health and happiness and most likely you will gradually increase your time, especially when you notice the benefits you receive.

Benefits of Meditation

  • Better relationships, including feeling connected to others and the world at large
  • Helps to lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety
  • Helps you to live in this present moment rather than focusing on past regrets or worrying about the future
  • Decreases the need for addictive substances
  • Heightens social awareness and compassion for self and others
  • Increases awareness of feelings, what you pay attention to, and your inner landscape, allowing you to make choices in alignment to your authentic self
  • Deepens inner knowing, intuition and self- trust
  • Increases a feeling of safety and being supported by life
  • Meditation changes the structures in important areas of the brain, increasing neuroplasticity.  Neuro-(relates to the nervous system) Plasticity- (refers to flexibility) or the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections.
  • Deepens one’s spirituality