Great Article. Read in its' entirety here
Meditation isn’t about suppressing your thoughts and emotions.
As someone who teaches (and writes about) mindfulness and meditation, I spend a lot of time addressing misconceptions.
There are many out there, and they are repeated often. Even more disheartening is that a lot of “teachers” and resources spread them, which makes it critical for people coming to mindfulness and meditation to find proper instruction.
Some of the more prevalent misconceptions are:
- Meditating is about stopping thoughts or clearing your mind.
- Meditating is about forcing yourself to think certain thoughts (or, block certain thoughts).
- Meditating will make you “detached” and non-caring/non-feeling.
- Meditating can cause more thoughts, and make depression and anxiety (and other conditions) worse.
All of these are false, and I’ve addressed them in past articles.
Recently, the misconception I’ve seen most is “meditating causes (or instructs) you to suppress thoughts and emotions.” I’ve witnessed heated debates on this topic, and read a lot of erroneous information.
This misconception stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of meditation. When you meditate, you cultivate awareness of everything that appears in consciousness: thoughts, emotions, urges, sensations, etc. You develop the skill of noticing it all without getting caught up in it (withoutindulging it).
On the other hand, suppress is defined as “forcibly put an end to; prevent.” Meditation is the opposite of that definition — when you meditate, you aren’t trying to forcibly end or prevent anything. To the contrary, you accept it all non-judgmentally.
Put another way, meditation is embracing whatever is happening in the present moment. The distinction is that meditating isn’t wallowing in thoughts and emotions. Nor is it dwelling on or analyzing them.