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7 Common Questions Regarding Meditation

I am writing this article as a follow-up to a guest post that I wrote for The Art of Manliness Website, “A Primer on Meditation“. I feel that the article was well received, and almost all of the comments have been positive, except for the inevitable internet trolls. While perusing the comments sections, there were several questions that seem to be common amongst those unfamiliar with the practice, those just beginning the practice, or those simply in a rut. Since many of the questions presented by the readers often come up in any discussion on meditation, I will attempt address some of them, as well as other common questions. As always, I disclaim any expertise, I am merely a seeker and a practitioner.

1) Is Meditation “Evil” or Does it Conflict With My Religion?

Well no, unless you feel that any sort of self-improvement or self-introspection is evil, or conflicts with your religion. All religions teach the need for some sort of spiritual development, meditation provides fantastic ways of accomplishing the inner work that is vital to spiritual and personal development.

At its core, meditation involves delving within yourself to discover who “you” really are. There are many different ways of doing this, and some of the most common types are discussed in my article on The Art of Manliness. While some forms of meditation involve repeating a mantra of some kind, you can easily use a verse/poem/saying of your choice to recite; therefore, a mantra/affirmation is adaptable to any religious, spiritual, or philosophical viewpoint. Also, there are numerous meditation techniques which require no mantra/affirmation at all.

2) Isn’t Meditation Just for Buddhists, Hindus, or New Age Types?

No. Meditation is a technique that has been used for thousands of years by people of all faiths. There are numerous types of meditation techniques that span the gamut of spiritual and social traditions, so it is not limited to any one particular group.

Meditation can be used by anyone, and there are numerous studies which have shown that meditation has fantastic health benefits. Like physical exercise, meditation can be used by anyone to live a calmer, healthier, and less stressful life. Also, it is becoming more and more common for those in high stress jobs like, corporate managers, stock brokers, attorneys, doctors, etc. to practice meditation to find insight, balance, and harmony in their life. For an interesting article discussing this phenomena at the Kalachakra event I attended please read the article: Buddhists in Pinstripes

3) I Don’t Have Time to Meditate, What Should I Do?

Meditation doesn’t have to be a long drawn out practice. While there are fantastic experiences to be had by longer meditation sessions, you can still reap benefits from shorter meditations. If we really start to look at our daily schedule, most of us will realize that we waste a good bit of time in front of the TV or computer (hey this doesn’t count as a waste of time!); therefore, by cutting out some TV or social network time, most of us can find at least 15 minutes a day that can be used for meditation, or even just some “me time” that can be used for reading or other forms of relaxation.

Try meditating for 15 minutes before bed, or wake up an extra 15 minutes early and meditate before walking out the door for work. Like anything in life, if you wait to have time, you will likely never do it, sometimes you just have to make time for it.

4) I Don’t Have Pillows, Incense, Bells, etc., Can I Still Meditate?

Yes. While all of the above can be fantastic tools, there is no requirement that you have them, in fact I know several people who find them distracting. I really prefer a keep it simple approach to most spiritual practices, especially in the beginning, so when you are getting started there is no reason to run out and buy a bunch of meditation supplies, especially when you are still trying out the various practices to see what resonates with you.

While I do use numerous meditation aids/tools in my own practice, I generally use them only at home. When I am traveling, or at the office, I meditate au natural, just me, myself and I, and those sessions have resulted in some of my most profound experiences.

5) I Have Some Sort of Physical Problem, Can I Still Meditate?

Yes. While there are those that advocate strict posture positions and styles for meditation, do what works for you. If you find it difficult to sit on the floor in one of the various sitting positions, then try sitting in a chair, or even lying down, just do what works for you. Meditation shouldn’t be a feat of endurance, or uncomfortable in any way.

If you aren’t comfortable, you will probably just be waiting for the timer to sound in order to end the session, instead of entering into a deep state of meditation, which is where most of the real inner-work is accomplished

6) How Can I Meditate in a Noisy Environment?

If you find yourself in a noisy environment such as a busy office, hotel room, or even a house with children, try using some noise canceling headphones, or download some nature sounds on your smart phone and play those through a set of headphones. While ideally you want to get to the point where you can meditate even with external distractions, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t. As mentioned, any sort of distraction or discomfort will likely work against what you are trying to accomplish with meditation.

Playing Nature sounds through headphones also works great for those who suffer from Tinnitus (constant ringing in the ears).

7) How Do I Start Meditating?

Find a comfortable spot, and try one of the numerous techniques that I discussed in my article: A Primer on Meditation

Practical Tip: Meditation, Just Do it!

If you enjoyed this piece, please share on social network sites, subscribe to this site, and share this site with others!

Also please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click on the book cover to view on Amazon.com)

  1. September 10, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    I *love* this, Jason. I think you really pegged several of the questions that I get on a pretty regular basis. Honestly, I am sometimes amazed at the lack of education that some people allow themselves to maintain on a practice that is common to, quite literally, more than 50% of the population of our planet.

    Good on ya’, Brother.

  2. September 10, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    I am glad you enjoyed it brother. My ultimate goal for this site is to make meditation and other spiritual practices “accessible” to those who may not have been exposed to them, or who may have preconceived negative associations.

  3. September 30, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    Meditation is diet of our mind and soul it boosts our spiritual wisdom and refreshes our body

  4. suciarose
    October 13, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    I have learned so much from your site thanks!

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