Wednesday, May 23, 2012

13 Astonishing Fallacies about Meditation

The following is a compilation of the comments/questions that have come up during my talks and in general conversations. Notice how the human mind is conditioned to aimlessly question everything and to resist new experiences. My responses are in Italics.

1. Meditation is for monks and holy people.
...and for you and me!

2. Meditation is weird and wacky.
Meditation is as weird and wacky as riding a bicycle.

3. Meditation is selfish.
If that's true, then any activity we engage in -- eating, sleeping, exercising, driving, watching television, taking a vacation -- has to fall in the same category.

4. Meditation is boring.
Okay. You got me there! Boredom and restlessness can weigh you down during a meditation sitting. Continued meditation can help you understand the process better and help ward off extraneous distractions.

5. Can meditation cure diseases?
Regular meditation can help you gain mastery over the mind, which in turn could help you maintain good mental and emotional health. But, in itself, meditation won't cure diseases. This is mediTAtion, not mediCAtion.

6. Meditation is a Buddhist thing.
Meditation is a human thing.

7. Is meditation a cult?
No. Meditation is a tool for self-transformation.

8. I don't know if I am equipped to meditate.
If you can breathe, you are equipped.

9. Meditation is a psychedelic experience and results in hallucinations.
Taking drugs is a psychedelic experience and can result in hallucinations. However, to avoid getting into hallucination-like states during prolonged meditation retreats -- which is both time-consuming and detrimental -- it's recommended that you train with a teacher who can guide you on the dos and don'ts of the process.

10. Is there a god in meditation?
First, god is a matter of perception. Next, meditation is a tool, not a religion.

11. Will meditation overwrite my religious views and values?
No. On the contrary, meditation will deepen your spirituality and enhance your values.

12. Will I become a Buddhist if I meditate?
Huh? What?!!

13. How do you tune out the outside noise during meditation?
You don't; you just tune "in" to your inner noise!