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Meditation Myths and Misconceptions

February 2, 2023


If you’re new to meditation, or have tried it a couple of times and feel as though you can’t seem to get into it, this post is to reassure you that it is completely okay to feel like you are struggling with this practice. Meditation can be very powerful, as it brings awareness to ourselves and gives our brain an intentional power to be mindful. Meditation is a life-transforming skill that benefits us by lowering stress levels, providing mental clarity, improving focus, connecting us to our purpose, and allowing us to understand our surroundings. However, many people are hesitant to try meditation, as they feel that they won’t be successful at it when they attempt to practice it.

It can sometimes feel overwhelming when beginning your journey into meditation… whether you are concerned about the correct way to meditate or nervous about trying it for the first time, it can be helpful to understand some common myths and misconceptions regarding meditation that may give you the wrong impression.  

Related: Tips and Techniques for Beginning to Meditate

Here is a list of common MYTHS and MISCONCEPTIONS regarding meditation:

  1. You have to completely clear your mind 
  2. You need a lot of time to meditate 
  3. Meditation must be practiced in silence 
  4. Meditation doesn’t work if your mind wanders
  5. You must be sitting in order to meditate 
  6. Meditation is hard to make into a habit 
  7. You can only see the results of meditation after years of practice
  8. Meditation is hard to master or become “good” at
  9. Meditation is a spiritual or religious practice
  10. You are supposed to have transcendent experiences when meditating

Top 10 meditation myths and misconceptions 

  1. You have to completely clear your mind 

A common misunderstanding with meditation is that you have to completely clear your head of all thoughts. We are only human, which means it is close to impossible to completely clear your mind and block anything that pops up. The purpose of meditation isn’t to have your mind be a blank slate – trying to empty your mind can lead to more brain chatter and stress. Be kind to yourself. It’s okay to notice your thoughts when they arise, and understand why they are there. The key is to observe the thoughts that enter your mind when you are meditating, but to not become attached to them. Observe and then let them peacefully go. 

  1. You need a lot of time to meditate 

The great thing about mediation is that it is a practice that is completely up to you to decide how to do it. Even if you only are able to meditate for a couple of minutes each day, you will eventually see the benefits start to show in your daily life. Just a few moments spent slowly breathing intentionally and becoming aware of the present moment can be meditative. Eventually over time, you will find yourself beginning to meditate for longer each day. 

  1. Meditation must be practiced in silence 

Some people may feel intimidated to try meditation as it is thought to be a silent practice. But the truth is, you can practice meditating in the way that feels best for you! Many people like to meditate with music (preferably music without any lyrics), as music also has calming effects on alleviating stress from your mind. People also meditate while humming, chanting, or reciting a mantra aloud. This can help increase your focus. 

Related: Finding Your Mantra 

  1. Meditation doesn’t work if your mind wanders

Meditation is the practice of being mindful, and this includes when your mind is wandering. When meditating, it is common to focus your attention on one thing. This can include your breath, an image, or a mantra. This allows our mind to relax without the pressure of letting it go completely blank. When thoughts emerge, as they inevitably will, it’s important to not judge ourselves or push them away. Gently remind yourself what your object of attention is in the present moment, and return to that place. Eventually, your mind will expand into a silent stream of consciousness, even if only for a few seconds. The more often you practice meditation, you will find yourself spending more and more time in this blissful state of peace, awareness, and silence. 

  1. You must be sitting in order to meditate 

The purpose of meditation is to give us a sense of peace and calm, and to allow us to embrace the present moment while connecting us to an element of ourselves. There are many ways this can be achieved, and your body does not have to be sitting to successfully practice meditation. You can meditate and achieve a mindful state while moving. A quiet mind and activated calm do not need to be accompanied by a still or quiet body. Some people prefer to lay down, stand up, walk, or dance while meditating. 

  1. Meditation is hard to make into a habit 

If you have made mediation into a routine habit for yourself – congrats! If you are still working on it, try not to be too hard on yourself. Like with any other habit, it takes time and consistency to build. Just remember to show up for yourself, and eventually you will find yourself becoming more consistent with the practice of meditation. 

  1. You can only see the results of meditation after years of practice

Some people believe that you have to practice meditation for a long time before you are able to see the effects of it on your wellbeing. This is incorrect – the benefits of meditation are both immediate and long-term. Some studies have shown increased mood, decreased stress, and reduced blood pressure after only one session (Chopra, 2021). You can begin to experience the benefits of meditation after the very first time you sit down to practice. There are even greater effects for those who are consistent with their meditation practice; consistently practicing meditation produces growth in the areas of the brain associated with memory, empathy, sense of self, and stress regulation. Scientific studies have also shown that meditation has profound effects on the mind-body physiology within the first few weeks of practice, promoting a sense of calm and decreasing overall anxiety. 

Related: Breathing Exercises to Relieve Anxiety

  1. Meditation is hard to master or become “good” at

One reason why meditation may seem so difficult to get into is that we are overly attached to the results of meditation, and becoming “good” at it. The truth is, there is no correct way to properly meditate or master this practice. Meditation can come in many forms, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. It is the practice of expanding our consciousness and taking us to a place of stillness and clarity. Meditating an opportunity to rewire your brain for new habits, patterns, and awareness. It can be helpful to start your meditation journey by receiving instruction from an experienced and knowledgeable teacher, or through online guided meditations. 

  1. Meditation is a spiritual or religious practice

Meditation is a practice that helps us to enrich our lives. It enables us to expand our awareness and bring more calmness and serenity into our lives. Many people may have the image of meditation as an esoteric practice reserved only for saints, holy men, ascetics, and spiritual gurus. In reality, meditation is there for anyone who wishes to experience inner quiet and the many physical and mental health benefits of the practice.

  1. You are supposed to have transcendent experiences when meditating

It is easy to get caught up in the idea or excitement of feeling like you have to have some sort of transcendent experience to fully feel the effects of meditation. Hearing of other people having visions, seeing colors, conversing with ethereal beings, or getting a glimpse into enlightenment may make you feel like you’re not meditating correctly when this doesn’t happen for you. Each meditative experience is subjective and different for every person. Although we can encounter a variety of divine experiences when we meditate, such as bliss and tranquility, it is not the sole purpose of the practice. What many people don’t realize, is that the real benefits of meditation are found in the hours that make up our day-to-day lives. When we meditate, we carry the effects of the practice with us throughout the day, instilling a deep sense of calmness, love, and peace of mind. 

Now that you have found out the truth that is behind these meditation myths and misconceptions, you can freely begin your meditation journey. The practice of meditation has the ability to enhance your life, and once you start you will begin to notice all of the positive changes unfolding before you. 

Megan Binder

B.A Psychology


Chopra. (2021, February 23). 7 myths of Meditation. Chopra. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from 

Mindworks. (2022, November 30). 4 most common meditation myths debunked (and the facts): Mindworks. Mindworks Meditation. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from 

Resnick, A. (2021, July 12). Meditation facts: Why you don’t have to clear your mind. Verywell Mind. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from 

Scott, E. (2020, September 17). Meditation that’s music to your stressed mind. Verywell Mind. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from,than%20other%20forms%20of%20practice. 

Sweet, J. (2022, October 12). 11 meditation myths you should stop believing. Forbes. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from 

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