Common Misconceptions About Meditation
- Meditation has become a mainstream leadership practice with demonstrated health benefits.
- In spite of meditation being thousands of years old, several common misconceptions about meditation continue.
- You may wish to explore a greater variety of approaches to meditation to find what works for you.
In the past five years, meditation has become palpably mainstream and leaders are being encouraged to take up a practice from influences such as Forbes and Harvard Business Review. According to a National Health Interview Survey, meditation increased threefold from 2012 to 20171. Benefits may include reduction in blood pressure as well as easing the symptoms of anxiety and depression2. If you have not dedicated yourself to a practice, it is possible you may be caught up with one of the common myths surrounding meditation and/or have not yet found a practice that works for you. Let us explore some of these misconceptions.
- Mediation needs to be quiet.
Thank goodness this is false. Often, meditation has a prayer or mantra which accompanies it. Sometimes, a group can meditate together with a mantra or prayer, even incorporating instruments and singing. This is one way to have a clear focal point without getting bored or having the mind wander off.
- Meditation needs to be seated (on the floor).
Sometimes, people are seated in a chair, standing, or even walking/dancing during meditation. Movement can help center and ground you in your body. As someone who teaches meditation, I encourage walks in nature paired with mantra for people who are very active.
- Meditation is connected with a particular religion.
Many religious customs include meditative practices that are not linked with one tradition exclusively. If you are religious or non-religious, please know that adopting meditation does not mean you have adopted a religion.
- Meditation needs to be a certain length.
While some people meditate for several hours each day, you can get many benefits from a short practice (such as three minutes per day). For people new to meditation, consistency is important. I would suggest starting with no greater than 10 minutes. As a teacher, I emphasize that beginners should practice each day of the week and, ideally, at the same time per day.
Please remember: Meditation is a vast practice that goes back thousands of years and is beyond a single tradition. As a leader who is curious to access the benefits, be open to conducting your own research and application of techniques. Consider keeping a journal to observe which practices you enjoy and the benefits you experience.
Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.