There are a lot of misconceptions about meditation. I’ve listed some I’ve come across teaching Vedic Meditation. Here they are:
Misconception: I can meditate once a week to experience a shift in consciousness.
Truth: In order to reap the full physical, mental, and spiritual benefits, meditation must be practiced twice daily for 20 minutes. At first, students balk at this. “How will I have time to work out? write? paint? [fill in the blank]? I barely have enough energy as it is!” But then they very quickly realize that as meditators, they sleep more soundly and require less sleep because they are resting at a level 2 to 5 times deeper than sleep, twice a day in their meditation practice. Because of this, they wake earlier in the morning, refreshed. The student quickly becomes addicted to their new twice-daily practice.
Misconception: I will become a passive “bliss bunny” if I learn to meditate.
Truth: Yes, you will experience bliss –- how can you help it? When we practice Vedic Meditation, stress production shuts down. The body is playing with a whole new chemistry set containing only those chemicals we associate with “feeling good” -– serotonin, anandamides, endogenous opiades, fourteen different endorphins –- all surging, unchecked, through your body twice a day. But, as we know from exercise-induced endorphins, this process doesn’t make you want to lie on the couch to stare blissfully at the ceiling. Bliss chemicals give you energy and fill you with optimism and a plan of action. There is a famous quote in the Bhagavad-Gita “Established in Being, perform Action.” That is the true aim of Vedic Meditation -– action arising from the experience of bliss.
Misconception: Meditation is a religious ritual -– it will “make” me Buddhist or Hindu.
Truth: Vedic Meditation is a practice, not a religion. It allows you to connect to higher Self. This Self is that which we hold sacred and unchanging, even in its evolution –- you may label it God, Nature, or the Universe. The Vedanta expresses it this way, “I am That. Thou art That. All of this is nothing more or less than That.”