Myth #1: “I am no good at meditation. I’ve tried it a few times and I just can’t do it”. Mediation is a skill like any other. To learn to meditate takes the same ingredients as learning to play the piano or golf. It takes 1. A good teacher 2. Lots of practice 3. Persistence and patience.
Myth #2: ‘Hard as I try, I can’t stop my thoughts while meditating’. Stopping thinking is not the aim or the point of meditation. Like sight is to seeing and sensation is to touch, thinking is the normal and natural expression of the mind. There are a number of ways to ‘work with’ thought in meditation, depending on the kind of practice you do. If you are choosing a concentration practice, the aim is to rest your awareness on an ‘object’, commonly the breath. Each time you find yourself caught up in thought, simply return your awareness to the breath. Over time, awareness stays on the breath longer and more easily; thoughts still happen but they arise and fall away without our awareness engaging.
Myth#3: ‘I should be blissed out after every meditation’. Bliss can be a happy by-products of committed practice, it’s not the aim. Chasing it ends in disappointment and misses the point. The more profound gifts of sustained practice are to experience clarity, equanimity, freedom, compassion, a profound sense of wellbeing independent of outer circumstances and more.