5 Misconceptions About Meditation


People are starting to meditate throughout the world. It’s more popular than ever before in areas of both spirituality and health/wellness. There are numerous scientific studies about the benefits of living a mindful life.

But, there are still some common misconceptions people have about meditation practice.

1. You must sit in a certain way.

Many people suggest sitting cross-legged in the lotus position on a cushion on the floor, without moving. That’s how I sit, but it certainly isn’t a requirement. Some people have back or leg problems and can’t sit that way. This is no barrier to meditation practice. Sit however you want. Or lie down. The point is resting your body in a way that won’t be distracting to you.

2. It doesn’t count if your mind wanders.

Controlling our minds is our goal. That said, if our thoughts wander when we meditate, we need to not get frustrated. Frustration destroys our efforts to train our minds. What we should strive to do, whenever a distracting thought enters our mind is to recognize that thought and then let it go.

3. You need a lot of time to meditate.

People are busy and that’s okay. The ideal amount of time is 20 minutes or so. But, if you only have 10 or even 5 minutes to spare, that isn’t useless. 5 minutes of meditation is better than none at all.

4. You have to meditate alone.

Many people do only meditate alone, and that’s fine. But meditating in a group is good too. I think of it like having a workout buddy to go to the gym with. When you are accountable to someone else, it makes continuing the practice a little easier.

5. It’s religious.

Meditation is only about dwelling in the present moment. Seeing reality as it is, with clear awareness. You don’t have to become a Buddhist or do anything else. You only have to practice being here now.




About Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel Scharpenburg is an independent dharma teacher living in Kansas City. He gives online teachings through the Open Heart Project, the largest virtual mindfulness community in the world. His writing has appeared in Lion's Roar, Patheos, Tattooed Buddha, and Elephant Journal.

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