Updated: Jul 23, 2020
My teacher used to say that the only "bad meditation" you can have is the one you don't show up for. Meditation is truly so simple, but through natural misunderstanding, we have overcomplicated it. From there came the myths, and as a certified meditation and mental health coach, I am here to debunk them. I can promise you, you're doing it right.
1. Your mind can be too active to meditate.
This one gets me every time, because this is the exact point of meditation. Also, we all have over-active minds. On average, humans have about 80,000 thoughts per day and even if you know that you have more, we got you. Just sit down and struggle like the rest of us.
2. You have to meditate for a specific amount of time to get results.
You'll read articles on how twelve minutes is the magic amount of time, then another that says twenty, then another than says thirty minutes morning and night, then another that says sixteen-seconds is enough to reset the brain. Just listen to me: any amount of time is going to help. Find what feels good for you.
Some days you might want or need more, some less. I suggest doing just slightly longer than you actually want each time. No shame, all gain.
3. You have to sit cross-legged.
You can sit cross-legged, lotus-pose, in a chair with your feet planted on the ground, with your back against a wall, on a pile of pillows, in a tree, on a plane, lying down on your back - whatever. Seriously, just get comfortable and keep your spine natural and straight. Do what keeps you restfully alert, not tense or tight.
4. Meditation is about clearing your mind.
This is the number one myth that causes people give up on meditation. Meditation is about watching the progressive fluctuations of the mind. It's about observation and gentle redirection, not clearing your mind.
Here are the three things that can happen during a meditation:
1) Thoughts occur.
2) You could fall asleep.
3) You could experience stillness.
5. You need a quiet place to meditate
Meditation is practice for the real world. If you're trying to control your atmosphere too much, the purpose is defeated! If you have the luxury of a comfortable, quiet, calming place, by all means get to it there. However, if you don't, you're really preparing your psyche for the big leagues (aka life). Just float on whatever you're dealing with in your surroundings and let it be part of your meditation.
You got this.