Shocking Truth about Meditation – Mistakes Most People Make!

In this post I’m going to share with you some common myths that people have about meditation and provide some deep insight on how valuable meditation is.

I’ll share with you a little personal journey to begin with.

I wasn’t always in this calm and relaxed state. When I was growing up, especially in my teenage years, there was a lot of rage and anxiety in me. And if I were to have gone to a psychiatrist when I was young, I would have been diagnosed with ADHD. I wasn’t particularly good at school because I had a lot of trouble concentrating andI barely managed to make it through high school, let alone university.

Upon completing my Bachelor of Science degree, my Father being proud of my achievement, took me to his Mentor to celebrate what I had achieved. My Father’s Mentor didn’t say much to me. Instead, he used his wooden walking stick to go to his room and when he walked back, he had two books in his hand.

I’ll never know what the other book was because my Father’s Mentor has passed away. But the book that I chose was the Power of Now. And I didn’t know the impact of the book until I started reading it. The story the first pages was about university professors who we are meant to idolise. These professors are people who are at the height of human intellect, but they run around in their heads as if they’re disembodied from their own body. This rang very true to me because as a student, this is what I was observing in my professors as well.

What was so profound about the Power of Now was the fact that up until that point, I had no idea that you could observe your own thoughts. In fact, the moment that I did, I didn’t go into a calm, peaceful and relaxed state. But rather, my brain was suddenly overloaded by all the thoughts that I had no idea was occurring in the mind.

The very ability to observe my own thoughts was the beginning of this meditative journey. I read The Power of Now, three times within a space of a week, and by the end of the week, all these headaches that used to be recurring since the moment I remember, suddenly disappeared.

This was the beginning of my journey into understanding the human mind. This was the beginning of my fascination into neuroscience and I spent the next two decades understanding neuroscience and the human potential.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a state of being where you are in harmony with your own body and therefore with all else. In this state, you are present, with your own body, with what is happening around you and responsive to what occurs in the Now.

We commonly use meditation as a practice to silence the mind. But it is not simply a practice that is designed to be done for 20 minutes a day, but rather it is a way of life that once it’s imprinted in your own being, you able to function from this meditative state, rather than trying to practice it.

Why Doesn’t Meditation work for Me?

A lot of people have the misconception, like I did, that your mind will suddenly be calm and clear. What happens when we first start meditating is we become suddenly aware of all the thoughts that are recurring in our mind. Some of these thoughts are surface level, such as what we should do next, or what should I eat next or something that is on your to do list. But then, when we start observing our mind, we find that a lot of these thoughts are recursive.

Some of the thoughts may be things that have been occurring in your mind for days, months and even years – the same thought patterns over and over again. What meditation does is brings your awareness to these thoughts. Notably, we don’t need to shift these thoughts at all, but rather to simply observe them and watch them transpire and not be attached to any thought that arrives or leaves your mind.

It’s like a glass of muddy water. If you leave the glass “still” long enough, the mud will gradually settle, and the water will become clearer.

This is what happens when you watch your thoughts over an extended period of time. The less attached you are to your thoughts, the less momentum you’re giving to your thoughts and therefore the more likely the mind is able to settle. Once it does, it leaves you with an awareness that is calm and clear.

How does Meditation affect the Brain?

When we look at meditation in the brain, we find that the brain exists in multiple wavelengths. We have the Alpha brainwave, which is when you calm and relaxed. We have low Beta when we are thinking. When we’re overthinking, frustrated and stressed, our brain goes into high beta.

We have something called gamma frequency where we have our most creative and insightful thoughts.  Self realisations, epiphany and ideas exist in the gamma state. When we meditate we are able to shift the brain into the calm and relaxed state which is the precursor for ideas and intuition to flow through.

The brain cannot be firing at all cylinders all at once. The brain needs to calm down for a gamma spike to happen. When we meditate, we may have a mind that is completely blank for a while, and then suddenly, all the dots connect and we have that creative insight.

What about Meditation Apps?

There are many tools out there that assist in your meditative practice. For example, binaural beats or mind-ware devices that monitor your brainwaves. However, it’s important to understand that the brain doesn’t exist in a particular frequency in any given moment. Part of the frontal lobe might be in gamma, while part of the occipital lobe might be in alpha, the sensorimotor cortices might be in beta while the subcortical regions might be in gamma. When we attempt to bring the entire brain into a single frequency, we are actually doing a disservice to the brain because it is natural for the brain to exist in multiple frequencies all at once.

I wouldn’t recommend optimising the brain to a particular frequency but rather to optimise the brain to adaptability and be responsive, so that when you are in this calm and relaxed state, you’re able to instantly change and adapt into a new state and decelerate back into the calm and relaxed state just as quickly.

Will Meditation help me find Answers?

There is a common myth in meditation that if you have a question, you can sit down with that intention and the answers will arrive in meditation. This myth comes because quite often when we do sit in meditation, profound answers do come through.  However, if we’re seeking that answers, it’s unlikely that it will come through in meditation. This is exactly what I meant – when you sit in meditation, the brain does acquires a calm, relaxed alpha state where it’s more likely that you’ll have a gamma spike and self realisation and Epiphany are likely to occur. But if you’re seeking answers, it prevents the state from occurring. So if you’re trying to force an answer through meditation, it won’t happen.

The best thing to do if you do have a question mind is to – let it go when you sit in meditation.

How do I meditate when I can’t find time?

Quite often people want to meditate but struggle to find time in their schedule to do so. This is rather unfortunate because you actually don’t need to have an allocated time to meditate.

This moment is a meditation.

The moment you bring your attention to your thoughts, it is meditation itself. The moment you use your breath to relax the body in this moment- it is Meditation . You can do this at any point during the day regardless of how busy your schedule is.

Simply paying attention to your thoughts throughout the day is Meditation.

How often should I meditate?

The most common question I get asked is how frequently should I meditate? It’s similar to any new program that you jump on to. At first you do need to have a higher dosage. So you might be meditating two or three times a day because the mind requires that amount of effort to be able to calm down.

As you progress with meditation, you might find that the frequency of meditation starts to subside. You might not be doing meditation as often yet, meditation has now become part of your being, it’s become part of who you are. At this stage, you don’t need to meditate that often.

For me, every moment is a meditation. It doesn’t matter, how busy my schedule is. If you have the ability to take a single conscious breath, regardless of what you’re doing it is Meditation.

You might be a family man, you might have kids at home, you might be going to work with back to back meetings and then picking your kids up from school and then coming back home and you’re exhausted and asking your self, why don’t I have the opportunity to meditate?

Yet in those moments you do! On the drive to work, when you are with your kids and in meetings – that is an opportunity to observe your thoughts, to meditate.

What if I don’t have an ideal setting for Meditation?

It is not necessary to find a calm, relaxed and serene place to meditate. Meditation happens in those places naturally.

You might find yourself in a chaotic environment. Surprisingly, this is the most ideal place to meditate, because this is what happens in life naturally. It’s the difference between an elite athlete training in the world class facilities and then when it comes to performance, they are performing under ideal conditions.

Life however does not work like that. You will find that life occurs more like the worst case scenario. So if train your meditation practice, in the worst case scenario, it is more likely to function in times when you need it the most, which is when things are going wrong and everything’s falling apart. That is actually when you need meditation the most. And that is when people stop trying to meditate and actually fall victim to the circumstance.

Doing meditation in the worst conditions is the best time to meditate. This is how you learn to trust.

Does meditation connect me to my body?

When we look at the physiology on the body – Meditation by itself is not enough. Simply by observing thought we can acquire a clearer mind, but at the same time an agitated body! Contrary to popular belief, the mind and body don’t go hand in hand. You can learn to strengthen the brain-body connection in this video.

To find peace in your own body, you have to work with the body itself. We can do this through breathing exercises. We can do it through rest and getting enough sleep. We can do it through movement exercises, which connects us deeply to our body. Meditation by itself is not enough because calming the mind without working on the body is working on only half the story.

In time, you might not feel like that you don’t need to meditate as often anymore, because this meditative state has become your natural state.

Will meditation allow me to access higher consciousness?

There is an attraction to meditation where we are able to access deeper and deeper states of our consciousness. This is often available either through prolonged periods of meditation, or in times of cataclysmic change – when you’re pushed into a heightened state of awareness. This might be in situations where you are in so much physical or emotional pain that you’re able to break through the pain barrier, acquiring a deeper state of consciousness which eventually comes from a state of surrender.

However, this is also a trap. Because once people experienced this for the first time, there is a tendency to try and find your way back to that state. This is not what meditation is. Meditation is simply sitting with exactly what you’re feeling right now, regardless of what you feel. So if you feel in grief or if you are feeling sadness or sorrow, being able to sit with that is meditation.

If you’d like to learn quick, simple and easy ways to meditate and connect with your body – you can start with my Online Course linked here.

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