I am a meditation – mind junkie because it makes me happier, healthier, calmer and more connected with “who I am.” I love teaching it because I know it can do the same for others and that nurse part of me really loves to help others find more peace and better health.
Meditation and Mindfulness classes and programs are exploding for good reason. I am so grateful about that because I want more people to gain the benefits. With this explosion, there are bound to be some myths out there.
I have the perfect example of a huge myth that could really turn people off meditation. Watch this really short segment from the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” and see if you can pick it out. Hint, there is a clue in the title!
I loved the Eat Pray Love movie and the book by Elizabeth Gilbert, but am concerned that this segment left people with the wrong impression about meditation. I was reminded about this segment after listening to a guided meditation the other day. The person guiding the meditation said, “close your eyes and focus on clearing your mind”. It left me a little annoyed and feeling like I needed to clarify.
Why do we NOT want to focus on emptying our mind during meditation?
If you think that you need to empty your mind in order to meditate, then you are asking your mind to do the impossible. Emptying your mind during meditation is not the goal and if you think it is, you will set yourself up for failure, believe you can’t do it, get frustrated and quit the practice all together.
Our minds have thousands of thoughts in a day and are meant to think, just like our ears are meant to hear.
Do you know what happens when you tell yourself to empty their mind? The opposite happens, as what you resist persists. Trying to empty your mind causes more thoughts and in turn causes you to feel more stressed as you’re trying to do something that isn’t possible. Just try it and you’ll see what I mean.
What DO you do in meditation?
You give your mind something to focus on so that when it wanders, which it will, you have something to bring it back to. Some people like to focus on their breath, or a mantra, or a phrase. The key is that regardless of the type of meditation you practice, your mind needs something to focus on even if it’s your thoughts themselves.
It’s no wonder people are really confused about meditation and what to do, how to do it, when to do it and what approach to use.
With the increase in popularity of meditation and mindfulness, it’s even more important that you get training from someone that knows what they’re doing.
Meditation is simple when you are taught correctly and just plain confusing if you’re not taught correctly. If you’re like me, you don’t want to spend time doing something that isn’t achieving the benefits you’re looking for.
So if you’re contemplating starting up your own meditation practice, that’s awesome, you won’t regret it. Spend the time finding someone who is qualified to teach you. If you have any comments about your experiences learning to meditate, please share them in the comment box below.
If you’d like to learn more about The Compassionate Mind programs and services, you can check them out HERE.
Bev Janisch M.N., CMMT
Mentor, Speaker, Author