"Do you have family, friends, colleagues who say they just can't meditate? Mind and Life's resident neuroscientist Wendy Hasenkamp explores the popular misconceptions surrounding meditation, and the reasons to keep trying.
...If you do a quick online image search on meditation, what you’ll find is a popular depiction: people sitting cross-legged, eyes closed, seemingly serene and free of thoughts, some even with beams of light shooting out of their heads. You need only ask someone who meditates regularly to know that this image is a far cry from the reality of meditation. Especially for beginners.
On the outside, the body may be calm (and even that can take quite some time to achieve), but on the inside, the mind is often a messy jumble of thoughts and emotions. That’s normal. In fact, while meditation means many things to many people, from my perspective, it is not about achieving a blissed out, “empty” state of mind. Cessation of thinking is possible (or so I hear), but I see this as more of a side effect, if and when it ever occurs. To me, meditation is actually a process—one of investigating your own mind and changing the way you relate to your thoughts."