This video is about myths of mindfulness, and I wanted to make this video because, as mindfulness is becoming more popular, I'm starting to see these misunderstandings floating around that I think are not very helpful. So I'd like to use this video to clear those up.
Myth one: mindfulness practice is always going to be very peaceful and calming. It is not. Mindfulness practice is about being with whatever is, in the present moment. The great meditation teacher S.N. Goenka used to say, "See things as they are, not as you would like them to be." So sometimes you're going to be mindfully aware of challenging experiences like pain or anger or frustration. Sometimes you'll be mindfully aware of very enjoyable experiences like peacefulness or calm, but one is not correct and the other one wrong. We're just mindful of what is so the experience is not always going to be smooth and beautiful and peaceful. That's a myth.
Second myth of mindfulness: that meditation, which is a big part of mindfulness practice, that meditation is about clearing your mind or emptying your mind of all thoughts. It is not. And I think a lot of people don't realize this. And so they try to meditate, they can't clear their mind, and then they think they're a bad meditator. So let me clear this up for you. Of course you can't clear your mind. That's not possible. And it's not necessary. So when you meditate, you're bringing your attention back into the present moment, whether it's through the breath or some other means. But while you're doing that, there could be all sorts of thoughts going on in your mind. That's totally okay. You just let them be there, and you can bring yourself into the present in the midst of all that mental activity. So, meditation, it's not about clearing your mind. You don't have to empty your mind of thoughts. Thoughts can be there. That's all a myth.
Third and final myth of mindfulness that I want to talk about is the idea that you can cultivate mindfulness effectively without practicing meditation. And I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that's not true. If you want to improve your mindfulness skills and become more and more mindful in your daily life, so that you can reap the benefits of that, you do have to have a meditation practice. Now, it doesn't have to be a crazy meditation practice. Even if you practice a few minutes a day, you will notice some real changes. But mindfulness practice in daily life without a little bit of formal meditation practice, it's just not going to get you very far. So that's the last myth that I wanted to bust in this video.
I hope this video was helpful and that it cleared up some misconceptions around mindfulness so that you can improve your practice and have a really wonderful, beneficial mindfulness practice of your own.