1. ITS NOT IMPORTANT
Meditation is often dismissed as not being important enough to practice. That it is something only for hippies or yuppies who go to yoga. Nothing could be further from the truth, for meditating actually suits everyone: from all walks of life, men or women, young and old alike—everyone benefits from it.
In life we cannot simply wish to be good: we have to act. Meditating helps one develop a keen awareness and the energy to transform negative mental patterns. Maharishi said “water the root to enjoy the fruit.” So when you hear that meditation is not important, remember that it is perhaps the most important thing in a rational and spiritual person’s life.
2. ITS DANGEROUS
We all need salt to live. But everyday you hear about the dangers of salt intake; the horrors of the amount of sodium in certain foods. So some things in abundance may harm you. Perhaps some forms of meditation don’t help you. Sleep is different. Sleep can’t hurt you. Most of us could do with more. Certainly, Transcendental Meditation cannot hurt you, because it is as natural as sleep.
Some people with depression or other mental illnesses may see meditation as an instant cure. If you have a problem such as clinical depression or another mental illness, perhaps seek out the help of a mental health professional and then—with their support—take up meditation.
Meditation can stave off depression, and as such, should be practiced every day. One should also seek out a teacher who can help with a good meditation technique.
3. ITS ONLY FOR BUDDHISTS
You don’t have to convert to Buddhism to meditate. There are many Christians and Muslims and Jews who are devoted practioners of meditation who are also leaders and great followers of their individual faiths. Meditation is non-denominational; it crosses borders; it crosses faiths and beliefs because it is a system of developing a particular psychological state. One which will make you a better, more loving person.
4. THERE ARE TOO MANY WAYS
There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of forms of meditation. What does that tell you?
While the Buddha taught many different types of meditation, the two most common and useful for us today are Mindfulness of Breathing (anapana sati in Pali, the ancient language of Buddhism) and Loving Kindness Meditation (metta bhavana).
Mindfulness of breathing will take you on a path of calmness and leads to mindfulness in everyday life.
Loving Kindness Meditation will take you on a path of tolerance, patience, and peace for yourself, those around you, and the entire universe.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brought us Transcendental Meditation (TM). TM will let you think more clearly, will improve your health (big time), and will lead you to spiritual enlightenment. It will also help you fulfill your desires and increase your “good luck factor.” It will reduce your stress, improve your relationships with all around you, and help you find inner peace.
5. ITS HARD
Its not. TM is probably the easiest, and most people “get it” in less than an hour. It also has the broadest and deepest research base of any technique we know.
6. ITS COMPLEX
This idea may apply to forms of meditation that involve active thinking, contemplation or concentration. But many forms are actually very simple. for example, Mindfulness of Breathing speaks of four easy steps: place, posture, practice, and problems.
A suitable place is a room that isn’t too noisy and where you won’t be disturbed. A comfortable posture is a good idea. Then, obviously, you need to practice and learn to cope with the thoughts and sensations that may come up. So find a good teacher.
Transcendental Meditation is even simpler and those who have tried many techniques say it is the most profound. With a good technique like TM, the place is less important, because you will have deep experiences in the most unlikely places. So its more about the technique than the place. You do it seated comfortably. You don’t need to strain. But it needs an authorised teacher. You don’t get it from a book, DVD or website.
MANY MYTHS, ONE PRACTICE
There are many myths regarding meditation in the West. If you keep an open mind and are willing to practice, you’ll discover a great truth: meditation leads to ultimate peace.