16 Meditation Questions Answered


1. Can You Meditate Lying Down?

The short answer is yes, you can meditate lying down. 

However, I forget who it was, probably Sam Harris, who said that it is harder to concentrate lying down.

I have found this to be true myself: that concentrating is harder while lying down. 

When lying down I find that my mind wanders more than if I am sitting up straight. It takes longer to return to my breath or whichever meditation anchor I am using. I’m pretty sure that sometimes it even takes me five or ten minutes to return to my breath.

2. Can I Meditate While Going to Sleep?

Yes, you can meditate while waiting to fall asleep. I find this has helped me to fall asleep.

 If you are actually trying to sleep at night (or for a nap), I do find meditation to be beneficial. I usually lie on my back while meditating lying down in my bed whereas I sleep on my stomach. So it may be beneficial to lie in a way that is atypical for you, because doing so will make it easier to concentrate.

3. Can you Meditate With Your Eyes Open?

Yes. Some meditation apps like Waking Up have meditations that start with your eyes open or keep the eyes open the entire meditation.

Other esoteric but worthy-of-exploration meditation techniques like the Headless Way have open eye approaches.

4. Can You Do Meditation At Night?

Yes, there really is no time when you cannot meditate.

You may be less focused because it is later in the day and our bodies and minds tend to be more fatigued as the day goes on.

You may have fewer “clicks” when meditating — less learning about yourself. At least this has been my experience. There’s just less brain activity in general at night time. But there is no reason not to do it.

Sometimes just sitting silently and calmly can be beneficial, even if you don’t have big breakthroughs while meditating.

5. What is the Difference Between Meditation and Mindfulness

The primary difference between meditation and mindfulness is that meditation is a practice while mindfulness is a state of mind.

We can make an analogy with exercise: meditation is to exercise what mindfulness is to being in shape (or being fit).

So like exercise can lead to being fit, so can meditation lead to being mindful.

6. Can Meditation Replace Sleep?

Absolutely not.

Sleep and meditation are not the same thing. At all.

Sleep is a process by which our body repairs itself both mentally and physically. It’s way more complicated than that. We still don’t fully understand sleep.

Meditation is an exercise that we do while we are awake. We (generally) attempt to focus on our breath.

The two things are very very different.

7. Is Meditation Scientifically Proven?

Well, that depends, of course, on whether what you are asking about has been proved or not.

Each scientific paper tests specific hypotheses (or should).

In short, meditation has been proven to do the following:

Science has shown the following to be effects of meditation:

  1. Enhances mood
  2. Enhances attention
  3. Enhances emotional regulation
  4. Enhances attention

8. Can I do Meditation After Eating?

Yes. In general you can do meditation whenever and wherever. That is one of the coolest things about meditation: that it is free or very cheap and we can do it wherever we are.

If you have just eaten a big meal you may feel lethargic though which could reduce your ability to concentrate on your breath.

9. Are Meditation Apps Worth It?

Worth what? Worth a few bucks a month? If you compare say $10/month to the cost of a therapist or really any other form of self-help, it is probably the cheapest thing you can do for yourself except for running.

In short, yes, they are worth it.

The way I think about this is this: do you get more out of an exercise class with a coach then if you exercise on your own?

I know that if I go to an exercise class, I generally push myself harder, and more focused, and connect with people.

That is how it is for me when I use an app to meditate: I generally get more out of it: I am also more focused.

I also get a reminder that I am thinking. This happens all the time; that I find myself thinking.

10. Can I Do Meditation Before or After Exercise?

Both.

Meditation is flexible. That’s one of the biggest benefits of it. You can do it anywhere and whenever you have time.

I suggest that you try both though and see what works best for you – whether that be before or after exercise.

I think in general we will be more relaxed after exercise. We may find it easier to concentrate then.

11. What is the Difference Between Meditation and Yoga?

These are just two different things. If they were the same they would both be called meditation or both yoga.

Yoga at least in the modern western world, is primarily a physical practice. There is a bit of chanting. Yoga helps to clear the mind while doing it; it can leave one feeling more at peace afterwards. There is a lot of focus on the body. Because you are engaging your body the whole time.

Originally, I think yoga and meditation had more overlap.

But now meditation is a stationary practice and yoga is a form of exercise that only has its roots in the original forms of yoga.

12. Does Meditation Increase IQ?

Some research has shown that meditation increases cognitive performance.

13. Is Meditation Against Christianity?

I think this can be interpreted many ways. There are some quotes from prominent Christians that say things like “Christian meditation is a necessary step toward union with God“.

In all my years of Christian school I do not recall learning that sitting still with my eyes closed and focusing on my breath is against Christianity.

But you never know. Christians seem to be pretty arbitrary about what is allowed and what isn’t.

14. Can Anyone Do Meditation?

My personal belief is that yes, (almost) anyone can do meditation.

I think some people who have a lot of trouble sitting still may find it difficult to meditate. But that doesn’t mean they can’t try.

If someone is mentally challenged they may also find it difficult to concentrate.

15. Can you Do Meditation During Periods?

Yes. It appears that doing so could improve tolerance to the pain associated with menstruation.

16. Is Meditation Dangerous?

A recent study showed that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) did not lead to higher rates of harm relative to a control group. And in fact MBSR significantly prevented harm.


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