May 26, 2015

7 Myths about mediation

Meditation is becoming quite popular. Much research suggests that it is very beneficial. But there are some reasons to remain skeptical. 

Prevously,  I have written several post about mindfulness meditation. For example, I wrote about research which shows that mindfulness meditation has various benefits for body and mind (see here, here, and here). Also, I have written a post about a few concerns about mindfulness meditation which I have. In that article I wrote that we do not seem to know a lot about what mindfulness medition is, which aspects of it work, and how they work. In addition to that, I expressed my concern about the hype character of mindfulness meditation and warned for exaggerated expectations.

Lately, I have read a few more critical articles about mindfulness meditation. James Coyne, for example, is one of the academics who is quite critical about the mindfulness meditation hype (here is a recent post by him). Another, a bit more accessible, article is written by Catherine Wikhol: Seven common myths about meditation. She describes the following 7 myths about mindfulness meditation (read her article for more information):
  1. Meditation never has adverse or negative effects. It will change you for the better (and only the better)
  2. Meditation can benefit everyone
  3. If everyone meditated the world would be a much better place
  4. If you’re seeking personal change and growth, meditating is as efficient – or more – than having therapy
  5. Meditation produces a unique state of consciousness that we can measure scientifically
  6. We can practise meditation as a purely scientific technique with no religious or spiritual leanings
  7. Science has unequivocally shown how meditation can change us and why
Wikhol's article is a good reminder to remain not only open minded but also critical when reading about popular approaches such as mindfulness meditation.

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