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.