When I first became curious about meditation 10 years ago, I thought, "Where do I start? Do I have to become a monk? What if I can't do it?"
I had many preconceived notions about how meditation works, which were holding me back from learning. It turned out I was completely wrong about several important things.
Once I realized how simple and easy it was to incorporate into my busy life, I jumped in and took the course.
Let me debunk for you 8 of the most common misconceptions about Vedic meditation...
MYTH #1: You have to sit still with perfect posture
When you learn Vedic meditation, you get to sit comfortably with your back supported and your arms and legs in any comfortable position. What a relief! You can also adjust your position during meditation; there's no need to be a statue (thank god).
In Vedic meditation, we don't require perfect posture because this technique works better in a relaxed upright position. Forcing perfect posture can create strain and stress rather than add benefit. So sit back, relax and enjoy.
MYTH #2: You have to stop your mind from thinking
Thankfully, thoughts are a part of the Vedic meditation process. Thinking is completely natural and one of several legitimate outcomes of correct practice. If this weren't true, there's no way I'd still be meditating today.
Did you know, the average person has anywhere between 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day? Our minds are designed to think, just as our hearts are designed to beat.
A flood of thoughts will arise during Vedic meditation after the body has purified itself of some stress. We welcome the release of stress so that we no longer hold onto it. The clarity, creativity, energy and happiness that comes from meditating is experienced after stress has released from the body.
MYTH #3: You have to focus
Some styles of meditation require focus, however in Vedic meditation we do not focus or concentrate. It's the perfect technique for us ADD, creative, super busy and over-analytical types.
When we practice Vedic meditation, we silently repeat a personalized mantra in an effortless way, and spontaneously the mind is able to transcend thought without even trying. This technique makes daily meditation approachable and doable for us busy, modern people who already spend so much effort focusing throughout the day.
MYTH #4: it takes a long time to get good at it
Great news: your mind naturally knows how to meditate, but has simply forgotten how. Taking a Vedic Meditation Course will retrain your mind so you can meditate effortlessly for life.
When you take the course, you learn how to properly meditate on day one using a time-tested technique from an ancient lineage of master teachers. It's a very simple, natural process with a digestible recipe of instructions that only requires a curious mind.
MYTH #5: It only works in a quiet, peaceful place
There's no way anyone could meditate everyday in the city if this were true.
When you learn the Vedic mediation technique, you also learn how to handle noise and interruptions, so that you can meditate in a taxi, on the subway, hotel lobby, park or airplane and still benefit.
You become the sanctuary so you can stop, drop and meditate anywhere you feel safe and comfortable. I created the Meditator's Map to help students start exploring.
MYTH #6: It's the same as exercising or making art
Biking and drawing are two of my favorite activities, but they don't produce the same benefits that Vedic meditation does. When we meditate we experience the benefits of stress release through de-excitement of the body.
Vedic meditation effortlessly triggers the mind into a state of deeply rested wakefulness (deeper than sleep, yet alert inside). This de-excitement of the body allows for deep-rooted stresses to purify from the nervous system.
Elevating the heart rate through exercise or focusing the mind in a creative project doesn't give you the same restful state of awareness. People who meditate daily report having higher quality experiences while exercising and making art, so meditation can bring you even greater joy from your favorite activities.
MYTH #7: It's selfish escapism
I had 99 problems, and then meditation solved like 92 of them. I used to think meditation was a way of escaping your problems, but it's actually the opposite. Instead, meditation melts away stress and all the irrelevant "would've," "should've," "could've" and "what if's?" circling in your mind.
Also, we don't meditate to get good at meditation, but to get better at life. The Vedic meditation technique reduces stress and gives us the ability to handle difficult situations better and solve problems more easily.
This enriches the quality of our day-to-day life, our work and relationships. When we enjoy life more, it positively impacts everyone we come into contact with. In this way, meditation becomes an act of selfless service for yourself as well as others.
MYTH #8: You have to change your lifestyle or beliefs
When you learn Vedic meditation, you are not required to change anything about your beliefs or lifestyle. There's no dogma involved in learning or benefiting from the technique. Vedic knowledge is universal and all-inclusive.
Did you know that meditation is both spiritual and scientific?
Vedic meditation is a spiritual technique, which means that it gives you a direct experience of your essence - that which exists beyond thought and beyond the senses. Imagine if you were to remove all thoughts in your mind right now. What would be left is your essence. It's the gap between thoughts.
Meditation doesn't work on the level of faith or trust, but direct experience. In this way, it's a scientific technique (supported by scientific studies), where we follow a specific procedure and then experience benefits as a result of carrying out the research of twice daily practice.
curious to learn more?
join me for a free Introductory talk
Kitchari (pronounced: Kit-chaar-ee) is like the “Chicken Noodle Soup” of Ayurveda. It warms and comforts the mind, body and spirit. It's a cleansing and nourishing dish that can be made all year round. It's great to make kitchari when your digestion is off or your nervous system is overstimulated.
Below is the recipe I adapted based on several recipes I've learned from expert Ayurvedic practitioners over the years.
1-2 heaping Tbsp of ghee (Ancient Organics Ghee is reliable and high quality) - SOURCE
1 cup of split yellow mung dahl (easier to cook and digest than whole or sprouted mung) - SOURCE
1 cup of white basmati rice (long grain)
1 Tbsp of cumin seeds
1 Tbsp of fennel seeds
1 Tbsp of coriander seeds
1 tsp of mustard seeds (less or none in summer)
¾-1 tsp of ajwain seeds (less in summer)
½-1 Tbsp of fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped (less in summer)
1-2 Tbsp of fresh turmeric root, grated or finely chopped (optional)
1-2 Tbsp of turmeric powder
½ tsp of black pepper
½ tsp fresh hing powder/asafoetida without additives (optional, strong flavor as an alternative to garlic and onion) - SOURCE
1 Tbsp of minced fresh curry leaves (optional)
Optional: organic vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots and squash
7-8 cups of water for rice cooker, up to 16 cups for pot (add as needed)
1-2 tsp of soma salt (or pink salt)
1 fresh lemon in winter or 1 fresh lime in summer
Bundle of fresh cilantro/coriander leaf
Wash mung and rice thoroughly until water in clear.
Optional: soak in water between 1-8 hour.
Boil water in pot and add salt. Turn on medium-low once boiling.
Strain and wash mung and rice.
Add mung and rice to boiling water.
If using a rice cooker, skip steps 3-5 and start cooker with mung and rice in water. [Recommended cooker]
Optional: add fresh chopped veggies such a sweet potatoes, carrots, celery or squash (better for lunch when the digestive fire is strongest). Night shades such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers are not recommended as they increase inflammation.
Scrape off and discard foam.
Close to when the mung and rice is cooked (approx. 25-35 mins), in a separate pan, add ghee on medium heat.
Cook cumin, fennel, coriander, ajwain and mustard seeds in ghee until the seeds start to pop. Then add ginger. Do not burn the seeds.
Turn off heat, then add turmeric, hing and black pepper and mix well.
Add pan fried herbs to mung and rice and mix well.
Add optional curry leaves.
Continue to cook and stir for a little while on low-medium heat. You may need to add more water until desired texture like a creamy risotto or porridge. Do not burn the bottom of the pot.
You may add an extra tbsp of ghee in cold winter months.
Serve in bowl.
Optional: garnish with a dollop of whole organic plain yogurt (for cooling effect).
Garnish with fresh lemon or lime and fresh cilantro/coriander leaf.
If you have diarrhea or inflammation in gut → 2 parts rice, 1 part yellow mung
If you’re feeling depleted or constipated → 2 parts yellow mung, 1 part rice
If you’re in a balanced state → Equal ratio of mung and rice
If you're having kitchari for dinner, then it's best to not eat anything after for full medicinal effect
Ready to learn more?
Tips for how to respond:
1. Give what you wish to receive. Be the change you wish to see. When we give time to our meditation practice, it gives back to us the energy, clarity, creativity and fulfillment we need to personally address the greatest need of our time. Leap into the unknown, lead with love and become radically inclusive.
2. Increase your consciousness. Vedic meditation is an incredibly effective and effortless tool for each of us to upgrade our own state of consciousness on a daily basis. Don't underestimate the power of this technique when you practice everyday. When we meditate we are not only benefiting ourselves, but we are also raising the average state of collective consciousness. In this way, meditation is a form of selfless service, of Action hardly done to subtly, but significantly contribute to progressive change. Continue getting to the chair twice a day, if not for yourself, then for the world.
3. Take responsibility for your own thoughts and actions. We must take personal responsibility for what we are experiencing. Blaming someone else for your own experience puts you in a tailspin of the ever-repeating known. To progress and transform we must learn the lessons in front of us and adjust our thinking to then take the next right action.
4. See things for what they are and stop ignoring what you know. Develop your ability to see what's coming with greater accuracy. To do this, we must follow that intuitive charm-like feeling arising within after meditation. Don't allow your intellect to drive your decision-making. When in doubt, meditate and see what comes to you afterwards. This takes time and practice to master.
5. Continue expanding your awareness to see the full picture. We must transcend our limited perspectives through meditation (not media) and step outside of our bubbles to experience a larger view of the world. Only then can you see things for what they really are.
See major media for what it really is: a hypnotic tool to influence the behavior of the masses for profit. One day they tell you a walnut tree is producing walnuts, then next day they tell you the same walnut tree is now producing mangos. Do not be fooled by the rhetoric used to wash over and normalize bigotry.
6. Create grassroots change. The leader of any country is really a follower of the collective, a reflection of the people. We need to change the collective, not the leader. The change first begins with us taking personal responsibility for our own state of consciousness, then we can inspire others to do the same.
7. Lead by example. Continue meditating everyday and spontaneously you become a great example of a higher consciousness state. The world needs more of this and you have the tool to do it. The few lead the many and as daily meditators we naturally come into playing this leadership role within our communities. By being your freshly-meditated-self, you will inspire friends, family and colleagues to also uplift their own state of consciousness. This is a grass-roots effort we can so easily and independent engage in everyday to make our world a better place.
8. Be happy from the inside out. Don't allow the world around you to inform what you are. True happiness is not dependent upon external circumstances. Allow your inner state of Being to inform what you are. Bliss is your baseline. Awaken unconditional fulfillment from within and Act from that place.
JAI GURU DEVA *
*Victory over Ignorance
Meditation gives us a direct experience of our inner essence, a state of Being. This subtlest form of awareness within becomes our primary source of insight for gaining knowledge.
While meditation is our tool for upgrading our 'hardware,' knowledge becomes our tool for upgrading our 'software.' We need both to up-level our whole mind-body system.
To fully develop our capability of cognizing knowledge, we seek to acquire deeper wisdom through master teachers and recorded texts. This provides us with a greater understanding of ourselves and the new experiences that arise as consciousness expands with twice daily meditation.
When we allow ourselves access to all three: our inner essence through meditation as well as knowledge from teachers and texts, we find balance in the process of realizing our full potential.
Applied knowledge empowers us to purify and upgrade our psychophysiology, while intellectual understanding of consciousness helps correct the part of our intellect that is mistaken about our true nature. With both, we can completely actualize and authentically embody the best version of ourselves.
Please enjoy these books to support your meditation practice. They can lend to a timeless, universal experience of accessing innate wisdom allowing you to remember what you already know.
WELLNESS & LIFESTYLE
ITIHAS (exemplary mythos)
ADDITIONAL VEDIC TEXTS
Find a Place to Meditate
Noise + Location are no Barrier to Meditation
You are the Sanctuary
Comfort + Safety are Key
FIND IT ON THE MAP
BECOME A SELF-SUFFICIENT, DAILY MEDITATOR
ATTEND A FREE INTRO TALK
Learn about the neuroscience behind why this technique of meditation is so powerful. There is no cost to attend and no obligation to join the course. This is a chance for you to meet Hunter, learn how the course works and get your questions answered. See upcoming Intro Talks here.
TAKE THE VEDIC MEDITATION COURSE
During the course you'll learn the Vedic Meditation technique for life. You'll receive a personalized mantra and learn how to use it correctly. You'll learn the strategy to blend daily meditation into modern living and how to meditate anywhere safe and comfortable. You'll also learn about the mind-body dynamics of meditation and the hallmarks of personal growth with daily practice. See upcoming courses here.
ENJOY A LIFETIME OF GROUP MEDITATIONS + SUPPORT
Gain lifetime access to our free group meditations within our worldwide community. You'll also have access to retake the course as many times as you'd like and be able to check in with Hunter whenever you have questions. You also become eligible for advanced courses.