Here we are going to discuss the five mistakes to avoid when meditating. We are living in times when there is a high level of stress due to the coronavirus lockdown. Social distancing imposed on people around the world, to stay safe we need to stay away from each other. Under circumstances where you are spending too much time alone, use meditation as a successful way to remain calm.
There is no shortage of information online on meditation and how to meditate. However, few resources focus on how meditation can go wrong. Based on traditional and contemporary literature on meditation, these are the five most common mistakes to avoid when meditating.
Wrong Body Posture
Posture is very important for seated meditation practice because if you are too tense. Your mind can become even more active. The important factor of body posture is stability which can be achieved by sitting on a chair or on a meditation cushion. If you don’t have a meditation cushion, a pillow will help lift your hips up. The best sitting position is sitting “like a mountain,” meaning upright and stable. You need to feel relaxed and deeply rooted when practicing seated meditation.
Being aware of your breath is an important part of mediation. It helps you with distractions around you or thoughts and feelings that might stay stuck in your head. A mistake that many people make is forcing the breath or modifying the breath. The breath should follow its natural course. Forced breathing is not in line with the core principles of mediation. Observing and accepting your breath is more important than chasing and controlling your breath or mind. During meditation, we should avoid changing breathing patterns. Breathing too slowly or loudly can additionally annoy those around you.
Are you Addicted to Meditation?
Meditation has been successfully used as technique for people who are recovering from behavioral addictions such as gambling or sex addiction. Becoming addicted to meditation is possible and it could be perceived as a positive form of addiction. Still, traditional literature stresses the importance of not becoming addicted to meditation and how spending too much time meditating can be useless. Meditation should not be used to escape from the world around you and avoid your daily responsibilities.
When we say impermanence, this means that it’s important to understand that nothing lasts forever. This includes us, our body and our life. It’s important to become aware of the impermanent nature of life. Contemplating impermanence while meditating can lead us to understand what’s important in life. Meditation shouldn’t be viewed as a stress-relief technique. This can lead to a superficial approach, causing us to miss on important meditative insights on the nature of life and death, and what really matters in life.
Are you a Mediator?
Meditation is not a quick-fix solution to all your life problems. Lasting progress requires sustained effort, not seeing meditation as a way of life. Also not perceiving meditation as something you will dip into when you feel stressed out.
Trying too hard is a mistake. Moreover, over-intensive mediation can induce psychotic episodes including people who have no previous history with psychological disorders.
The main goal of mediation is to be less self-centered and limit the extension at which our ego controls our behavior, mind and soul. Trying too hard when meditating or viewing yourself as an expert in meditation could imply that you are allowing your ego to interfere with the meditative development.
Stay safe and stay calm.