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Three Myths That Have Misled You About Meditation

With dedicated centers popping up nationwide and stacks of studies touting its health benefits, there’s no doubt: Meditation is the new yoga. So what’s holding some of us back from trying it? Despite the promise of everything from improved mood to an immune system boost, there are still many misconceptions about the practice of relaxing your mind. “I’m trying to demystify meditation for people who say, ‘That’s not for me’ or ‘I can’t do that,’” says Barb Schmidt, a mom of two and author of The Practice: Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace and Uncovering Happiness. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years and the more I explain it to people, the more they think: ‘Oh, I can do this! I can try this.’” If you’d like to be one of them, consider taking some time to get centered after reading the facts behind these three meditation fictions.

Myth #1: “I Don’t Have Time to Meditate.”
Got 60 seconds? You’ve got time to meditate. In fact, Schmidt recommends that beginners start with a small daily time commitment. “Spend one or two minutes before you get out of bed with your eyes closed just focusing on your breath,” says Schmidt. “You’re learning how to focus your attention on your breath even as it occasionally goes down a path of what’s for breakfast or what time you should pick up your daughter from school. You’re strengthening your resolve.”

Myth #2: “I’ll Probably Do It Wrong.”
Like trying a new recipe or helping your kid with the New Math, worrying we’ll do something incorrectly can stop us from doing it at all. But that definitely shouldn’t stop you from getting centered. Trust us: Just say om. “There is no right or wrong way to meditate. All of that is false,” says Schmidt. “It’s simply sitting with yourself. You’re connecting with yourself. Be with you, not trying to do anything or get anywhere.”

Myth #3: “I Have to Think About Nothing.”
While practice may eventually make perfect, right now you’re just training yourself to be in the present. Your mind will wander. That’s where mantras, like “I choose peace” or “This too shall pass,” can come in. “A word, phrase or passage can bring your attention back when your mind wanders,” explains Schmidt. “It’s the tool that brings you in the meditation back to the present moment.”

Have you given meditation a try? Post a comment and tell us why or why not below.

Barb Schmidt is an international speaker, philanthropist, spiritual mentor and best-selling author of The Practice. She has devoted more than 30 years to her studies with inspirational leaders such as Deepak Chopra, Thich Nhat Hanh and more. Believing that “outer peace begins with inner peace,” in 2011 Barb founded Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life to further serve those who seek to live a meaningful, happy life, and to fulfill her passion to bring peace to the world. Through this nonprofit, she teaches The Practice—a three-part guide to practical spirituality in today’s modern, and often chaotic, world.