In the 80s and 90s, yoga and meditation in America was a mystical and exotic proposition. Spiritual gurus from the east flooded the country trying to commit murder with their bizarre, expensive, and evasive spiritual products. And it resulted in those who sought or practiced meditation being branded and defined by unique and often strange or eccentric habits, viewpoints, and lifestyles. For example, they have automatically been associated with organic foods, green activism, veganism or vegetarianism and naturopathy.
Even more annoying, however, were some literal stereotypes that were mistakenly associated with meditation. These were people in yoga pants and cross-legged on yoga mats, and the index finger curled up, sat on the beach and gazed at the sky and sea ahead of them with an artificial look of serenity. They madly waved their hands for some kind of energy emanating from their "shakras" (as they mispronounced) following a terrible "path to enlightenment". Pooh.
The character of Dharma from the famous sitcom "Dharma and Greg" comes to mind. The sitcom subtly made fun of these stereotypical behaviors. And such people were often ridiculed by the majority of the population who found it difficult to embrace something exotic and strange like meditation.
It is only since the new millennium that things have become real and serious with meditation. Several medical researches and scientific studies have shown the real benefits of meditation. The acceptance of meditation is growing rapidly, and its benefits have been shown to go beyond simply reducing stress.
But much of the craziness and stereotypical behavior can still be found with those who practice meditation.
The good news is that Sahaja meditation is the most anti-stereotypical form of meditation one can find, despite being deeply immersed in meditation and spirituality. It is not for mystics, monks, or necessarily for the believers of the green movement. It also doesn't compulsively spread vegetarianism or naturopathy.
It's for ordinary people who live with families, have careers, enjoy watching movies, enjoy reading and making music, watch science fiction, and maybe even enjoy a little bit of fashion and supercars.
And for those of us who aren't exactly lean or muscular but are trying to lose weight. And you don't have to worry when you enjoy our luscious meatloaf, pizza and cakes. For some reason, the image of a skinny person suffering in life without indulgence or indulgence seems to align with that of a meditator.
However, the practice of Sahaja is also powerful and makes people focus on what is really important in life – spiritual self-improvement and personal development from within.
Let's break the myths and typical stereotypes associated with meditation.
Meditation is not an Eastern thing. it's global
Let's get rid of the pretentious namastes, saffron robes, minimalist living, and weird hillbilly behavior. Professionals in all fields practice meditation. You no longer have to go to the Himalayas or hunt the Indian "Gurujis".
In fact, some of our trainers and longtime practitioners at Sahaja Online are architects and medical professionals.
Knowledge of Kundalini and Chakras is no longer exotic.
Much scientific research and studies show the benefits of meditation. And as Sahaja Online shows, we are about to bridge the gap between science and spirituality. Deeply spiritual meditation offerings like Sahaja prove that the MRI scans of the brain of meditators can reveal interesting facts.
For example, a 2016 Sahaja meditation study using MRI brain structure imaging and voxel-based morphometry (Hernández et al., 2016) found that long-term Sahaja practitioners (compared to non-meditators) not only had a significantly greater Gray matter had volumes in the entire brain as a whole, but also specifically in the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and in the left insula. These are regions that are partially associated with emotional intelligence. The same was found in the regions of the right hemisphere associated with aspects of socio-emotional intelligence such as self-awareness, empathy, compassion, and altruism, among others.
Sahaja Online is the largest one-stop shop for everyone connecting the dots between science and spirituality. While the direct existence and properties of the Kundalini and Chakras have yet to be proven through scientific studies, it is only a matter of time before we get there.
You don't have to have a slim and flexible body to meditate.
All of the images we see of people practicing meditation are so unreal that we feel guilty about our bodies. They show people in yoga poses and are completely lean and fit, as if that in itself is a measure of how successful their meditation is. It is not. Yoga is now only associated with physical exercise, and some experienced yoga practitioners may be and look very fit. This is not necessarily the case with meditation and spirituality.
You might be slim, handsome, or pretty, and you might not know the difference between your Kundalini and your Kindle device. What is more important is your inner mind. The focus is on something deeper and higher, not your physical characteristics or your clothes.
Caring for nature and the environment is good, but we don't have to go crazy about it.
Some unnecessary assumptions are made that people who meditate are environmental activists or obsessed with green living. While those who meditate certainly respect nature and mother earth, they do not go overboard with these things.
You don't have to eat organic foods.
But you can, if you like – the point is that it is a personal choice and does not affect whether someone is a meditator or not. Conversely, believing or eating organic or even non-genetically modified foods doesn't necessarily mean you can meditate well.
Traditional medicine, pharmaceuticals, and alternative remedies and therapies are all good and indispensable.
The other stereotype associated with meditation is that these are people who hate big pharma and are even anti-vaxxers. While these are personal points of view, they do not correlate with whether or not someone is a meditator. The balanced meditator will apply the correct type of medical care and treatment depending on the situation.
Meditation does not make you lose your common sense or scientific temperament.
Unfortunately, in the 80s and 90s, meditators were viewed as strange in some way and were not inclined to do what normal people would. Some were even viewed as part of followers and cults who rebelled against scientific aspects or people in the scientific community. Of course, such people began to define what a meditator might be and what beliefs they hold.
On the contrary, the true meditator is perhaps the most scientific person and a person with a lot of common sense. Such people use their intellect in everyday decisions, and the fact that they also practice spirituality and energy-based meditation does not mean that they combine the two.
Meditation shouldn't make you feel superior, on the contrary.
Another problem with the typically seen meditator is the idea that they consider themselves somewhat superior or special beings. This is another misconception that meditators have taken on in society. Real meditation makes you humble and easy, with no feeling of superiority or bias of any kind.
Meditation shouldn't lead you to live in a cocoon, in a world of your own.
There is a tendency to separate meditators as people who are in a world of their own, who do not care or distance themselves from what is going on around them. You seem to be in a heavenly state of bliss in a nature resort, breathing fresh air as pollution in the world increases global warming at an alarming rate.
This comes from the fact that for centuries people had to find hermits in caves outside civilization in order to reach spiritual heights. This no longer applies today.
The truth is that the true meditator is very involved and attuned to what is happening in the world and also focused on how to make things better.
Meditation is not intended to isolate or separate yourself from society, but to turn you into an instrument for gradual social reform.
You do not lose your independent thinking through meditation.
Many people who meditate are seen as followers of an imaginative new way of life that sticks to their protocols. Instead, those who meditate are people of healthy, independent thinking and law abiding citizens. They question everything and try to understand problems and solutions on a deeper level. Blind acceptance is never part of their character. While they are practicing something else, it is not without proper understanding or validation.
Meditation doesn't make you sluggish, complacent, or aloof.
People who are calm and serene at all times may be confused with those who are indolent and unable to show the necessary urgency and take action, but it is the other way around with meditators. With impressive clarity and high productivity, those who meditate solve many more problems much faster.
Meditation does not mean that you cannot be financially savvy or successful.
A natural assumption is that those who meditate believe in some kind of world peace that eschews competitiveness, ambition, and the talent to succeed with career and money. The fact is, meditation has nothing to do with how smart or successful you can be in any aspect of life, nor does it teach an association with socialism, communism, or capitalism. Meditation teaches you to know yourself, to discover your potential and to realize it in your life.
Meditation doesn't mean you can't be out of comfort. You just shouldn't be tied to them.
Another common misconception about meditation is that it teaches you to give up on all the luxuries or good things in life. The association may come from Buddhist meditation practices. But even these practices preached a higher truth that attachment to anything, not use of the object or comfort itself, should be avoided. For example, you could live a comfortable and luxurious life, or a simple life without comfort, as long as you do not stick to both are bound. You just shouldn't mind or be in your attention.