Sunday was an amazing day filled with true friends, delicious food and wonderful fun. In other words, it was what I call a Sunday Chill. After my morning coffee with a croissant, I did my e-mails, planned and structured my week and of course met my friend. Because what better way to spend Sunday Morning than with friends sitting and chatting in the park. There were some delicious mini cheesecakes and creamy cappuccino for some of us and a half-meter pizza with soda for those who preferred to et a proper meal before dessert. Hey, I’m not judging anyone, I am a foodie too. Besides how can you not be a foodie in Italy? That would be impossible.
Anyways, I was sitting and chatting with my friends about our summer vacation plans, best Netflix series to watch and of course where we should go for dinner. No surprises there. But at some point, our conversation moved on to a new topic: Mindfulness. Or more precisely about the proper way to Practice Mindfulness. And that was when I had an “ah ha” moment that I’ve simply got to share with you. And here it is…
10 Myths And Misconceptions About Mindfulness
Myth #1 Practicing Mindfulness Requires Specific Knowledge And Training
No. Practicing Mindfulness does not require specific knowledge or training. Nor it requires specific tools. Actually, the only tool you will need is yourself. You are enough. You are a complete human being. You don’t lack anything. Furthermore, you already have everything you will ever need, you just have to open your eyes and see it. Just like the answers, you’re looking for… they’re are inside of you. But to be able to find them you have to calm your anxious mind and listen to your inner voice first and practicing Mindfulness can help you do that. Because Mindfulness is a state of being and paying attention on purpose. That’s it. You can do it here and now without any preparation. Just breathe. Give yourself permission to feel and experience the authenticity of your life.
Myth #2 Practicing Mindfulness Is About Experience The Feeling Of Bliss
There’s a common misconception that mindfulness is about having a particular kind of experience, an incredibly positive one. But if your ultimate goal is to increase your dopamine and serotonin to a dangerous level you have chosen the wrong method. Because practicing mindfulness is not about exploring the ecstatic state of being but about living your life to the fullest and developing self-awareness under even pretty sh*tty circumstances. So it’s not about being perfect but about embracing your imperfections and use them to your advantage. Being mindful means taking a risk and having the courage to make mistakes in order to grow and evolve as a human being. Mindfulness is not about being an opportunist and adapting to a dominant trend. Mindfulness is not about being someone else or adapting to someone else’s mindset. Because if you dedicate your time and energy to be somebody who you’re not you will miss your opportunity to discover who you truly are.
Myth #3 Mindfulness-Based Meditation Is About Escaping Reality
Practicing Mindfulness has nothing to do with escaping reality. Actually, it’s completely the opposite. The main objective of practicing Mindfulness-based techniques is to become aware of the now without mourning for the past and worrying about the future. Of course, it does not mean that you have to drop your plans and dedicate your present moment to do everything that’s left on your bucket list because that would be insane and most probably undoable. Not to mention that it would be a desperate attempt to escape reality.
Mindfulness is about being authentic and taking advantage of the current situation not about creating a particular experience at any cost. Being Mindful is about embracing the imperfection of here and now. It’s about finding your own, unique way to experience your life in a pure and authentic way. It’s about unlocking your power and dancing in your essence. And finally, being mindful is about embracing the power of your truth and being proud of choosing your own path.
Myth #4 The Goal Of Any Mindfulness-Based Meditation Is To Achieve The State Of Relaxation
That is one of the greatest misconceptions of practicing mindful meditation. Of course, you can achieve a relaxed state through meditation but it’s not the sole purpose of practicing mindfulness-based meditation. So if you think that sitting in a lotus position with your eyes closed is the way to achieve permanent happiness and perfect inner peace you are deluding yourself. First of all, permanent happiness and blissful calm don’t exist at least not in this world. So if that’s your ultimate goal, practicing Mindfulness will definitely not help you to achieve that…
Second, Mindfulness meditation is indeed a powerful tool to regulate mood, relax and unwind but it’s not the sole purpose of this practice. And if I’m being completely honest, for me increasing ability to regulate emotions through mindful meditation is more a positive side effect while the main goal is to develop particular skills like creating mindful attention, identifying your emotions, overcoming negative self-talk patterns, improving your concentration, unlocking your creative potential and finding a flow and balance in every situation.
Myth #5 Mindfulness Is A Religion
This is actually a common misconception about modern Mindfulness that deters many people from practicing the art of being present.
While contemporary Mindfulness-based practice derives from the Buddhist tradition, it has nothing to do with a sacred practice anymore. This is because, during the process of adapting traditional religious techniques to a modern western culture Mindfulness has lost its Buddhist roots and became a modern secular practice aimed to improve focus, productivity, emotional intelligence, and self-regulation skills through non-religious meditation, guided imagery, 5-senses activity, and breathing exercises.
So if you thought that practicing Mindfulness requires becoming Buddhist, adopting different beliefs system or sacrificing your personal values, that’s actually not true. Modern secular Mindfulness is about being in control of your life and accepting your present experience as a part of the self-development journey.
The contemporary mindfulness non-religious practice style is fun, entertaining, colorful, creative and incredibly relaxing. So if that was the biggest misconception about modern Mindfulness that was holding you back from experiencing the beauty of being fully present… well, you have no excuses anymore!
So grab your yoga mat, your favorite coffee, that book you wanted to read for a long time, go out with your friends or just sit in a comfortable position and breathe… mindfully.
Myth #6 Mindfulness Is Only For Relaxed, High Sensitive, & Spiritual People
Mindfulness is for everyone regardless of their background, wealth, race, faith, gender, sexual orientation, age, personality traits and level of sensitivity. Practicing mindfulness is for everyone and anyone. Besides, there countless ways to practice Mindfulness and you can always modify and adapt any of them to your personal needs to create the results you want. Or even better you can develop your own technique to savor the present moment. Exercise your creativity and imagination.
Mindfulness is a tool, the most powerful I know, to unlock your authentic self and discover the mystery of your individual essence. This peculiar state of consciousness is designed to liberate your power and experience truly your lifetime or lifetimes if you believe in the journey of souls… If you don’t believe in reincarnation focus on the life you’re living now… and live it to the fullest because you can only regret the chances you didn’t take.
Myth #7 Mindfulness Is About Creating A Perfect Balance
Practicing Mindfulness is not about creating a perfect balance in life. Besides so-called perfect balance in life that nothing, absolutely nothing can interfere does not exist. Life is very much a constant balancing act, a sum of rises and falls, ups and downs, stumbles and missteps, failures and fresh starts. Failure is inevitable but if it is followed by improvement it becomes a part of the learning process. Besides life without struggles and challenges would be an empty and meaningless existence with no possibility to grow and improve. Every step forward is a balancing act. But if you make this step mindfully finding the moment of balance will be much easier.
Mindfulness is about embracing all of these imperfect moments and make them memorable and meaningful. A mindful life is about moving forward and building momentum along the way. So instead of pursuing perfect balance and permanent happiness focus on the present moment. Focus on what you can do, learn, change and improve here and now. And breathe mindfully.
Myth #8 Mindfulness is the solution for all your problems
Mindfulness in itself is not the solution for all your problems but can be a powerful tool to improve your problem-solving skills. Considering the fact that most of the mistakes are being made because of distraction, inattentiveness, and confusion while Mindfulness teaches us to be fully present, focused and attentive it can be the solution to your problems. All depends on what Mindfulness means to you and how you practice it. You can practice Mindfulness-based techniques to regain your focus, learn to manage your emotions, regain the clarity of your mind even in the most stressful situation or you can just sit in a lotus position with your eyes closed for all day long. Do you see where I’m going?
Mindfulness can be a powerful tool, effective strategy or a good method to solve your problems, achieve your goals and create the life you want but it still depends only on you.
Myth #9 There Is Only One Good Way To Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a journey of self-discovery, the art of savoring the present moment, a powerful way to unleash your natural creativity, an incredible possibility to embrace your inner child, and of course an effective way to relax and unwind. Sounds great, right?
But the way you choose to practice Mindfulness depends only on you. Honestly, I don’t believe that there’s only one good way to practice it. It’s like telling someone that there is only one good way to live their life. That’s an absurd idea.
All these Mindfulness-based techniques you can find in books, podcasts, blog articles or youtube videos are given for guidance only to give you an idea how can you start your practicing Mindfulness but in my personal opinion you can and you should modify and adapt those techniques to your personal needs to create the results you want.
Practice Mindfulness-based techniques as you use a personalization app for making your smartphone truly yours. Add features you like, set up personalized gesture controls and change the color scheme and make it the way it suits you. Customize your Mindfulness practice as you customize your smartphone.
Practicing Mindfulness is about embracing the present moment, living with alignment with your life purpose, achieving your goals, cultivating the sweetness of doing nothing surrounded with your loved ones and being grateful for what you have. If you’re authentic you cannot do it wrong. It’s a personal journey, not a collective goal. And everyone’s journey is different, unique and special just like their personal needs, wants and attitude towards life. And that’s the beauty of life.
My point is that we can always choose how we want to live a particular life experience. We just have to understand it.
Myth #10 Being Mindful Is A Destination Not A Journey - it’s the opposite
Mindfulness is not about the destination but about the journey. But it’s not just a regular trip you can go on but a journey inside yourself. It is your sacred journey in search of your higher self. It’s the mystical experience of absolute trust and radical acceptance that you chose consciously and intentionally to have. And the best part? Since mindfulness is a journey of personal growth you cannot fail. The one who designs your journey is you. And every step you take, every decision you make whether is good or wrong is your chance to learn and grow. I’m not saying it will be easy because it won’t. The journey of personal growth is a transitional process and as such is a complex and multidimensional process that consists of a variety of mental states that you will have to work out on your own. So be prepared for the state of great confusion and for the unconditional release. Put your seatbelt on, make yourself comfortable and take a deep breath. Open your eyes really wide and let yourself experience the authenticity of the present moment.
Keep Being You
And Just Breathe