Meditation is a great way to improve your life and mind. But many people are skeptical about it because it seems too woo-woo or mystical. I get it; I used to reside firmly in that camp myself. It took me some time to realize that I had it all wrong.
Meditation is now a practice that I embrace wholeheartedly. In this article, I will explain why meditation is NOT woo-woo and what science says about it.
Meditation is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as: “the act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed”.
Meditation is not a new practice; it is a practice that has been used for thousands of years. It is thought that meditation originated in India and spread across Asia. It slowly made its way into western culture, but many still do not entirely accept it.
The history of meditation is fascinating. I will not go deep into detail in this article, but if you are interested in it, I would definitely encourage you to read more about it. It may be helpful to understand how it evolved over time.
In a nutshell, meditation is the practice of being mindful of what you are thinking and feeling. It’s a way to quiet the mind and become aware of the present moment.
It’s important to note that meditation is not the same as relaxation. Meditation is a form of mental exercise. It’s a way to clear the mind and focus on the present moment.
I know most people’s first thought is of someone sitting in the lotus position, humming or chanting, surrounded by incense, and being very spiritual.
The reality is that there are people that do practice meditation as part of their spiritual journey. It may have religious or spiritual importance to them.
However, many people also practice meditation in a secular fashion, sans woo-woo, if you will.
*Side-note: Honestly, I don’t mind a little woo-woo. I used to be adamantly woo-woo-free, and I have to admit that I have learned that there is some real value in some things deemed a little woo-woo in the last few years.
I have really changed my mind on some of these things, and it has brought richness into my life that I didn’t have before.
So, you will have to make up your mind where you stand in relation to woo-woo. If you are curious but skeptical, stick around my blog. I plan to share about a number of techniques that I once labeled woo-woo and now find highly beneficial.
Truthfully, meditation does not have to be a woo-woo experience at all. So, let’s talk about what meditation is NOT.
- Meditation is not woo-woo or new age (unless you choose to practice it that way. ) It is a way of achieving mental peace and tranquility through the practice of various techniques.
- Meditation is not just sitting still. It is an opportunity to slow down, calm your mind, and reflect and ponder.
- Meditation does not mean sitting cross-legged on the floor with your eyes closed. Well, it CAN mean that! But it’s important to do what works for you. Personally, there is no way my body is contorting into the lotus position. So, I just get comfortable.
Many people are skeptical about meditation and its benefits because they are stuck in the idea that it is nothing but woo-woo and silliness. This is not the case. Numerous scientific studies have been conducted that illuminate the many benefits provided by meditation.
Of course, everyone will respond differently, but there is no denying the plethora of studies documenting the benefits of meditation on mental and physical health.
- Improved focus and concentration
- Improved ability to deal with stress
- Reduced anxiety
- Reduced depression
- Improved chronic pain
- Improved insomnia
- Improved chronic inflammatory conditions
- Decreased blood pressure
- Increased sense of well-being
I know I linked to many studies above, but I told you initially that meditation is not just woo-woo. I wanted to show you that scientific studies have looked at meditation and found it beneficial.
It’s up to you whether you want to read all the studies, but as a matter of integrity, I wanted to link them so you know I am not just making stuff up.
There are numerous types of meditation and meditation techniques. Below are some of the common types of meditation. I will do an in-depth article soon, going into greater detail on each type.
- Guided Meditation
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Vipassana Meditation
- Transcendental Meditation
- Chakra Meditation
- Metta Meditation
- Visualization Meditation
- Mantra Meditation
- Movement Meditation
I am a firm believer that not everything is right for everyone. So, with that in mind, I want to be clear that mediation is not a cure-all that works like magic. Remember, this is not woo-woo.
There are no magic wands here that will make all your issues, pain, or emotions disappear. I look at meditation as ONE tool in the tool belt of self-care. I make this point a lot because I think it’s essential.
Meditation can be a GREAT technique to use in conjunction with other things. Some will get more benefits than others.
Some people may not resonate with it at all. That’s okay. It’s perfectly acceptable to read about it, find a type that appeals to you, and give it a go.
If it doesn’t turn out to be a good fit for you, no harm done. Simply move on to find a different tool. Your tool belt will be very unique to you and should only contain the tools you like to use!
A final word of caution: a meditation practice is just like any other habit or exercise. It takes time and patience to build it up. If you have unreasonably high expectations the first time you try it, you may be disappointed.
You may not be great at it at first. It may feel weird. But like many things, with practice and consistency, it could turn out to be something you really enjoy and value.
The Bottom Line on Meditation and Woo-Woo
I hope I have provided enough food for thought that you will at least consider the idea that mediation is not all woo-woo and fluff. There are countless scientific studies that validate the very real benefits that can be found in meditation.
You don’t have to be spiritual to meditate. But you can be! Your meditation practice should be a reflection of you. There is no right or wrong way to practice.
There are many different styles of meditation, and they all have value. Feel free to explore different types and techniques and see if any of them inspire you to start your own meditation practice.
Meditation can be an excellent tool for managing stress, calming the mind, or providing a calm space for introspection.
I’ve found that it’s a great way to get in touch with myself and really reflect upon my life.
If you have hesitated to learn about meditation, I challenge you to take a second look and see if maybe, just maybe, there is a technique or two that might be beneficial in your life.
Please leave a comment below and let me know if you use any meditation techniques in your life!
With Love and Acceptance,