What really is meditation? : Sri Sri

Posted on: Sunday, September 16, 2012 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar enumerates 10 myths about the art of meditation

With close to six billion minds active from moment to moment, there are endless streams of thoughts on every aspect of creation. Some thoughts perceive reality the way it is, some make up the imagination and some are simply misconceptions. While there are myths about many topics, the most popular one is meditation. Utter the word ‘meditation’ and all kinds of images and notions conjure up: Is this for me? I can’t sit for long hours? Who wants to meditate anyways?

Here is a list of the most common myths, hoping that any confusion that you might have is cleared.


Meditation is concentration: Meditation is actually de-concentration. Concentration is a benefit of meditation. Meditation is absolute relaxation of the mind. It is letting go. When the mind is relaxed, we can concentrate better.

Meditation is a religious practice: Yoga and meditation are ancient practices that transcend all religions. In fact, meditation has the ability to bring religions, nations and faiths together. Just like the sun shines for everyone and the wind blows for everyone, meditation benefits everyone.

Sit in the lotus posture to meditate: The Patanjali yoga sutras is perhaps the most scientific and detailed study that man has produced dealing with the nature of the mind. Sthirasukhamasanam, a yoga sutra by Patanjali, explains that while meditating, it is more important to be comfortable and steady. This helps us to have a deeper experience. You can sit cross-legged, on a chair, or in a sofa. It is good to maintain a posture where the spine is erect and shoulders are relaxed.

Meditation is for old people: Meditation is universal and adds value to lives of people of all age groups. One can start mediating at the age of eight or nine. Just like a shower keeps the body clean, meditation is like the shower for the mind. “After practising meditation, I do not get as angry as before,” shares Sandra, a school student.

“Just a few minutes of meditation keep me calm all day,” shares 19-year-old Karan, another young meditator.

Meditation is hypnotising yourself: Meditation is an antidote for hypnosis. In hypnotism, the person is not aware of what he or she is going through. Meditation is complete awareness of each and every moment. Hypnotism takes the person through the same impressions that are in his mind. Meditation frees us from these impressions so that our consciousness is fresh and clear. Hypnotism increases metabolic activity, meditation reduces it. In fact, those who practise pranayam and meditation regularly cannot be hypnotised easily.

Meditation is thought control: Thoughts do not come to us by invitation. We become aware of them only after they have arrived! They are like clouds in the sky. They come and go on their own. Trying to control thoughts involves effort and the key to a relaxed mind is effortlessness. In meditation, we do not crave for good thoughts, nor are we averse to bad thoughts. We simply witness and transcend thoughts and move into that deep inner silent space.

It helps escape from problem: On the contrary, meditation empowers you to face problems with a smile. Skills develop in us to handle situations in a pleasant and constructive manner through yoga and meditation. We develop the ability to accept situations as they are and take conscious action instead of brooding over the past or worrying about the future. Meditation nurtures inner strength and self-esteem. It acts like an umbrella during rainy days. Challenges will arise but we can still move ahead with confidence.

It’s time consuming: You do not have to sit for hours to have a deeper experience in meditation. The connection with that deep inner core of your being, your source can happen in just a fraction of a moment. Just a 20-minute session of Sahaj Samadhi meditation every morning and evening is sufficient to take you on this beautiful inward journey. As you practise, the quality of your meditation will improve gradually.

You will become a sanyasi: You do not have to give up material life to meditate or progress on the spiritual path. In fact, the quality of your enjoyment improves greatly as you meditate. With a relaxed and peaceful mind, you are able to live happily and make others in your surroundings happy too.

Meditation is time-bound: Anytime and all directions are good for meditation. Just keep in mind that your stomach should not be full; else, you may doze off. Meditating during sunrise and sunset keeps you calm and energetic throughout the day.

Source: The Pioneer