Wherever you got your original understanding of the practice of meditation, there are five basic myths that we all come across at some point in our attempts to develop a meditation practice. Embracing these myths helped us to rationalize that our lives would be better off without meditation. And ultimately, this rests at the core of why we may have stopped or let it slip away. But if you can embrace these myths as just that—myths—and then release them from your belief system, you will more easily give yourself permission to begin or reengage your practice.
Myth #1: The first thing you need to do is to clear the thoughts from your mind or at least still them.
Myth #2: Something special or transcendent is supposed to happen during meditation.
This month, we explore Myths 3, 4, and 5—the remaining impediments to developing a daily spiritual practice. De-mystifying these remaining limiting beliefs will jumpstart your practice AND your life will blossom and bloom.
Myth #3: I don’t think I’m doing it right.
So many of us perfectionists out there want to know that we are “doing it right.” How many times have we asked ourselves right before, during, and after meditation, “Am I doing it right?” Maybe we didn’t experience the Buddha, reach nirvana, or have an aha! moment. Maybe we didn’t see colors, slow our mind, or quiet the thousands of thoughts pouring into our awareness. We then resigned ourself to the fact that we weren’t doing it right. So we stopped our practice—put it on hold—and dove back into the swirling overwhelm of life and waited for the next crisis to unfold. But it doesn’t have to be like that.
Whenever you ask, “Am I doing it right?” the answer is, “Yes, you are doing it right!” There’s more performance anxiety about whether we’re doing it right in meditation than any other pressure I can think of. Well now and forever, know that the pressure is off here. In meditation, as long as you are doing it, you’re doing it right.
Who’s your biggest critic? It’s you. And judging your meditation practice is no different. You can even play the “blame” game in the midst of a spiritual practice. But, there’s no need to be so hard on yourself. Don’t be critical of your form. Don’t try. Release. Let go. Surrender to the unknown. Surrender to what you don’t know. Surrender to the fact that you have only one purpose in meditation, and that is to innocently repeat a mantra or follow your breath, depending on which meditation practice you choose. As long as you do that, you are doing it right.
As long as you are showing up to meditate, it’s a win!
So congratulate yourself for just doing it. Don’t fret so much about form; just do the practice with innocence. Surrender, and your life will blossom and bloom. After several consecutive days of meditating, you will hear, “Hey, you look more relaxed.” Or, “Wow, great idea! I didn’t expect that from you.” Or, “Hey, did you have some work done on your face?” “Is that a prescription? Where can I get some of that?” Or, “I want some of what you’ve got!”
That’s your indicator that you’re doing it right. And if no one says anything, know deep inside, they’re seeing the difference in you and they secretly are in awe of the “new” you. As long as you’re doing it, you’re doing it right. In time, you will be amazed at how life unfolds and how your awareness of life unfolds with greater grace and greater ease.
Myth #4: If I meditate long enough, I will achieve enlightenment.
In your very essence—at your very core—you were born pure, perfect, whole, and enlightened. And that from the moment you were born into this world, you have been layered with interpretations, perspectives, and conditioning. From each moment since your birth, these layers have covered that wholeness, purity, perfection, and pure consciousness from which you were formed.
You came through that birth canal, and an entire lifetime of conditioning was unveiled to you from the very first moment when the doctor gently patted you on the tush to welcome you into this physical realm. Since that very moment, doctors, nurses, parents, siblings, boyfriends, girlfriends, exes, father figures, teachers, students, mother figures, spouses, exes, coaches, clergy, bosses—and a lifetime of experiences—have layered, layered, and layered you with conditioning.
It’s a few days, years, decades later, and you’ve traveled pretty far from that moment of pure, infinite, enlightened perfection. But that pure, infinite, enlightened perfection is still who you are at your very core, underneath all those layers of conditioning. Meditation allows you to see glimpses of your pure, unconditioned, universal self and, therefore, have a deeper understanding of your life and perhaps life itself.
Will you become enlightened? That is the wrong question. You already are. You simply may not be awake to it. But each time you meditate, you get an opportunity to reach back and peel away more layers of that lifetime of conditioning. And you get to dip your toes in, dip your fingers in, and reconnect to your unconditioned self—your pure, whole, perfect, enlightened self. And each time you dip your toes in, you bring back a thimbleful of stillness; each time you dip your fingers in, you bring back a tweezer full of silence; each time you surrender to who you really are in meditation, you take back an eyedropper full of your unconditioned self. Back into each day, back into each moment, back into each breath.
So will you become enlightened? It’s the wrong question. You already are. Will you awaken yourself to your wholeness? Yes. Meditation by meditation, moment by moment, you will wake up to more of your enlightened self.
Myth #5: If I meditate, I am a superior human being because I am spiritual.
Meditation is a gift. A gift that you give yourself each time you practice. It’s also a gift that you give to the world around you. There is no spiritual hierarchy of humans based on whether they meditate or for how long. This is a spurious claim used by insecure individuals under the guise of spiritual expertise. This is the same claim that fundamentalists of all religions and belief systems have used for millennia to elevate themselves and distance non-followers. I do not believe meditation embraces a spiritual hierarchy. Meditation embraces “Namaste”—where you are neither above nor below anyone else, where there is only union, one-ness.
Having a daily meditation practice doesn’t make someone better than anyone else. Meditation allows you to connect more deeply and more frequently to your source, your highest power, your universality, the stillness and silence that rests within each of us, your most unconditioned self.
The more you can tap into your unconditioned self—that pure, unbounded, divine aspect of yourself—the easier it is to see your universality, which is essentially seeing yourself in others and seeing others in yourself.
In that state of oneness awareness, there is no comparison between you and anyone else.
Once you have embraced the de-mystification of these limiting beliefs, you will begin to transform the world by transforming yourself. Taking this innocent step toward a nourishing practice will allow you to more easily connect to the stillness and silence that rests within. As you keep meditating, your life will continue to blossom and bloom.
davidji is a certified Vedic Master and a teacher of stress management, emotional healing, and conscious choice-making. He is the author of the best-selling Secrets of Meditation: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace & Personal Transformation and the creator of the award-winning guided meditation CD Fill What is Empty; Empty What is Full. Visit davidji.com for free tools, tips, and techniques to take your practice to the next level and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
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