By now the whole world knows you should meditate daily for optimal physical and mental health (even people who've been stuck in caves - in fact they're probably meditating too).
But why aren't most of us doing it as often as we should? Why isn’t this part of our daily rituals for success?
I believe it's for the same reason we don't consistently exercise or eat healthy too: we get strapped for time. We get lazy. We lose discipline and succumb to temptation.
Or, we get stuck following ineffective advice that doesn't make meditation as simple, transformational and enjoyable as it should be.
I've spent the past 10 years meditating daily; and through my Mind Movies movement, I've helped over 2.1 million people harness the power of meditation in their lives.
In this time, I've learned a few things about meditation that I'd like to share with you through this post.
More specifically, here are six of the most common meditation misconceptions that make meditation seem way harder than it should be… along with the simple corrections that will make all the difference to your daily inward journeys:
1. Instead of meditating whenever you have time… find a set time and stick to it.
Many meditation teachers, in an effort to show you how easy meditation is, will advise you to just meditate whenever you can find a few minutes to step away from your daily busyness.
The thing is, how often and how consistently are you really able to find "just a few minutes" of quiet time? Plus, even when you do, are you sure you'll have the discipline to meditate each time, instead of taking the easy way out and checking Facebook?
Instead of struggling with this resistance, I have found it's better to set a time to meditate daily - usually either in the morning before you start your day, or in the evening before bed. Having a repeatable routine is one of the keys to making success rituals stick, as over time your brain builds the necessary neural pathways to make it an effortless part of your day.
2. Instead of trying to meditate for 20 minutes each time… find your ideal duration and build on it at your own pace.
For some reason, 20 minutes has become the Magic Number of how long a person should meditate.
Now while I agree that 20 minutes is in most cases a good amount of time, not everyone has the time or patience to pull this off, especially if you're a beginner.
So if you find it hard to sit down and meditate for a 20-minute stretch, allow yourself to start with a shorter duration - even 5 minutes is perfectly fine. Then, gradually move up until you find your ideal session time, which could be 10, 15, 20 minutes or even more.
3. Instead of trying to keep your mind clear as you meditate… allow your stray thoughts to naturally come and go.
One of the most common misconceptions about meditation is that it's about keeping your mind constantly clear - which is why many people get frustrated when they find they can't keep their inward journeys free of stray thoughts and mind chatter.
The key to dealing with stray thoughts is to treat them as a passing breeze: acknowledge them, allow them to be present, and let go of them as they move through you.
It is this exact same mechanism of passing thoughts that allows you to experience deeply personal epiphanies and realizations from your subconscious as you meditate - which is one of the greatest gifts meditation can give you.
4. Instead of sticking to one type of meditation… experiment with a few and see what fits you best.
From kundalini to transcendental to modern breathing and mindfulness-based methods, there are countless ways to meditate - and chances are you're going to like some more than others.
So if you've been trying one method for a while and not getting the results or experience you want, don't be afraid to experiment with new methods.
You can even adopt a combination of different meditation types, depending on your mood, schedule and goals at any given time.
5. Instead of comparing yourself to other meditators… focus on the progress you've made for YOURSELF.
If social media (and some real-life social circles) represented reality, it would seem that everyone who meditates is perfectly zen and overjoyed with their lives and their meditation practice.
Just remember that you're often not exposed to the challenges and adversity taking place behind the scenes of a person's public persona - which means it's a pointless and sometimes damaging exercise to compare yourself to what you think you know about them.
So yes, while it's of course good to be inspired and learn from others, what's most important is your own personal progress with meditation - even if it's not as share-worthy as that meditation celebrity you follow on Instagram.
6. Instead of struggling to lock in your meditation practice… expand your definition of what meditation really is.
At its core, meditation is simply a way of reconnecting with the essence of your being - which is why some people reject the notion that you are required to sit in solitude, legs crossed, eyes closed.
Activities like walking, writing and even washing the dishes are considered by many to be forms of meditation too.
Remember, there is no Meditation Police breathing down your neck, making sure you do it "the right way" - so have fun with this ancient practice, and keep tweaking your approach until you find one that gives you maximum relaxation, clarity and enjoyment.
Have fun with meditation!
*NOTE: Millionaire (and billionaire) entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, and Steve Jobs all share a common secret that they use to get ahead of the game.
This same technique has been proved to work by Stanford University neuroscientists… and now everyone can use it to achieve their goals WITHOUT hard work.
Whether you want to write a bestseller, find your soulmate or start your own million dollar business…
What's your best meditation tip? Share your wisdom with the community below:
Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.