Meditation is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. It doesn’t have to take a long time. You can’t really be bad at it.
It’s not as if you’re required to sit on a pillow, legs crossed, with a completely clear mind or else you’re a meditation failure.
That thinking is contradictory to the practice.
Merriam-Webster defines meditation as “the act or process of spending time in quiet thought.” Other definitions include “a typically self-directed practice for relaxing the body and calming the mind.”
Yoga is defined by Yoga International as “a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state.”
In my last column, I tackled the science behind meditation, and I got some feedback that made me realize there are myths and misunderstandings about meditation-and that it seems inaccessible to many people.
So let’s start simple. What is meditation, exactly?
As I looked for definitions, I realized how it could seem unattainable or pointless.
It might seem unrealistic or at least very low on the priority list to spend time sitting quietly.
After all, there’s work, laundry, kids, family, friends, exercise, bills and Netflix binge watching to do. (And I’m not being sarcastic about Netflix. I love some “House of Cards” binging.)
If you’re wondering why you should even meditate, Google “Benefits of Meditation” and have at it.
If you’re aware there are benefits but aren’t sure how to get started or feel a bit confused about what it entails, let me see if I can help.
I talked to Claudio Barrientos, an independent contractor who teaches meditation and mindfulness at Chattanooga’s Center for Mindful Living and at the Mindful Center in Knoxville.
He starts many of his classes by dispelling myths that people might have about meditation and mindfulness-which are different but go hand in hand.
I also spoke with Amanda Carmichael, who is a yoga teacher and owner of Ooltewah’s BeYoga studio.
Myths about meditation
-No. 1: Meditation is about escaping.
Actually, meditation is about learning to become more present; it’s about learning to connect to yourself, Barrientos said.