5 myths about meditation

If you think meditation means simply emptying your mind, think again. Time to bust some myths about meditation!


Would you like to meditate but you’re not sure if you’re able to do it? Are you afraid you’re too restless, unfocused or simply not the ‘meditating type’? Let’s dispel some of the most common myths about meditation so you can give it try and experience some of its benefits for yourself!

Myth 1. You have to be calm to meditate

Contrary to what you may have heard, you don’t need to feel calm before you meditate; all you need to do is sit down and observe what is there. Perhaps you feel restless. Maybe you feel tense. You may even feel like breaking something. Or perhaps you feel happy and bubbly. All perfect!

Meditation is just about learning to be with all this jumpy stuff, not to avoid or fix it.

Myth 2. Meditating is about having no thoughts

Often people think meditation is about clearing your mind of thoughts. However, try ‘not thinking’ for a moment and see what happens…thoughts will come into your head, no matter what!

While it’s not possible to stop your thoughts, it is possible to learn not to invest in them so much. Notice them coming and going but simply let them pass through.

By focusing on the experience of this moment, you stop feeding your thoughts: you can’t concentrate on both at the same time. The more you practise this, the easier it gets to leave your thoughts alone.

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Myth 3. Meditation is about controlling your emotions

Meditation is about getting to know your emotions, not about controlling them. Control is fear: fearing your own depth, your deep feelings. In true meditation, you open up to how things are, not how you want them to be! So during meditation, every emotion is more than welcome to surface. In true meditation, you open up to how things are, not how you want them to be!

Myth 4. You have to sit crossed-legged to meditate

Lotus pose or sitting crossed-legged is not required for meditation. For me, meditation is not about form, it’s about awareness. You can meditate in a chair just as effectively if that works for you. Or sit up on cushions with your back against a wall if your back prefers it.

Myth 5. Meditation is difficult

It is only difficult if you have the wrong expectations. Like having to experience a deep inner stillness or a spiritual revelation. Let that go. Meditation is really about learning to embrace your messy, human nature…it is about getting to know yourself. You don’t need to change yourself to find out who you are! 

Originally posted 29th April 2016 – updated October 2020

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Esther TeuleEsther Teule is a meditation teacher and personal coach. Over years of practise Esther has developed her own style of meditation, based on inquiry and the practise of self love.