Meditation is slowly becoming a common practice in which many people see it differently. Perception is an individual’s choice, and without knowledge and understanding, many would have different opinions about something. It is common for people to get to a place of familiarization with the practices and beliefs that they have previously believed to be meditation. An example is when people say meditation is a way of making the mind quiet; yet, that is not what meditation is about.
Several books have been written that relate to the meditation subject. Even so, confusion may arise because they have been written from the point of views dependent on standards and beliefs of a specific religions or philosophies. Some have made statements and values about meditation that sound like general laws, but generally meditation is a highly accurate procedure that is exclusive to a specific system of practice.
What Meditation Is Not?
There are several misconceptions about meditation which include:
- Meditation is just a relaxation technique – It should be well understood that meditation is not relaxation. A good example is when we sleep, sleeping and relaxing are not the same, but the critical connection is when we sleep, the result is relaxation. The same principle applies to meditation, one of the outcomes of meditation is relaxing when one sits straight for a specific period of time and relax that does not end the duality nature of the mind. It is essential to understand that relaxing is one of the beneficial results of meditation. It relaxes you, rejuvenates and makes one calm giving a sense of serenity.
- Meditation is meant for people on a spiritual search – Contrary to the misconception, meditation is for anybody wishing to tap into its manifold of benefits. One of the primary purposes is the ability to yield a relaxed mood making one aware of who they are without much effort. It is a vital tool for everyone because anyone and everyone would wish to know more about themselves without having to depend on someone else to tell them, and this is only achievable through meditation.
- Meditation is not concentration or contemplation – When one focuses on something or concentrates, they are merely narrowing the awareness. One can only focus on one specific object after the exclusion of everything else. Meditation is all-inclusive as your consciousness is expanded. When one meditates, they become aware but not of anything specific or particular. Meditation is simply one of the forms of concentration. Concentration makes one to always project their attention towards a specific task or activity while in meditation. The idea of projection of your attention to a particular job or business is not there. What meditation is capable of doing is giving one the ability to remain aware of the moment without selecting anything, in particular, to concentrate upon. Concentration is an art that helps one when learning meditation, especially at the initial stages, but it is not meditation.
- Meditation is not a religious practice – Perception has it that the sitting in a particular posture, chanting some specific, compelling words with a phonetic significance and the burning of essence is meditation. Meditation is neither the art of doing a particular exercise in a specific posture for a specific length of time. It is true that one has to take some time and give it some genuine effort and dedication for one to learn meditation, but that does not make it a religion or ritual. Meditation is simply the quality of one’s existence which occurs when one gets to be aware of their true self and ae able to perform anything with awareness. Anyone, without focusing on religion, ethnicity, age, sex, creed or nationality can practice meditation. Once understood, meditation is more fun to do it does not involve any form of straining.
- Meditation is not a state of mind – We say meditation is not a state of mind, but it is the state of no-mind. We cannot say meditation is what one thinks; no, meditation is actually more than what one feels as it helps to find a peaceful place that is right inside you all the time. There are basically four states of mind according to scientists who are dependent on the frequency of mind waves. The four states are referred to as alpha, beta, gamma, and theta. When we say one is at the beta state, it merely means the state in which we live and perform all our day to day activities. The alpha is right below beta which is the state of meditation. Gamma and theta are the states of mind of further depth. At the alpha stage, it allows one to become still, tranquil and calm without any levels of stress or tension; in short, one becomes peaceful. Alpha is not meditation, but it is the state of mind in meditation. There is no gadget or mechanical device that can be used to create awareness, but the gadgets can only be used to create the right conditions which help us to realize what is true.
- Meditation is not self-hypnosis – As it is required in self-hypnosis, so it is the same in meditation because there is a need for an object of concentration in both cases. However, when meditating, the person who is involved has to maintain an awareness of here and now and equally stay very conscious and not to black out their mind. It is not a subconscious state that is usually the case with hypnosis. Hypnosis tries to turn one into an emotionless vegetable and makes the subject to be more susceptible to be controlled by another party. On the other hand, meditation makes one to become more and keener on their emotional changes. One gets to learn themselves with greater clarity and precision.
- Meditation is not a mysterious practice – Meditation is an art that deals with different levels of consciousness that lie more profound than the symbolic thought. The only interesting thing is that there may not be exact words to define meditation but that applies to different other things like we all understand how to walk but many of us, if not all, have the precise explanation of the order which the nerve fiber and muscles are able to contract during the whole process of our day to day everyday activity like walking. The same applies to meditation; we might not explain it in detail, but we can do it. When doing meditation, one cannot predict the outcome because it is merely an investigation or experiment and equally an adventure to look forward to.
- The purpose of meditation is to become a psychic – This is a misconception that people have that the end result of meditation is to be a psychic superman. The details like reading minds and levitation are not the ultimate goals in meditation, but the ultimate goal is self-liberation.