Meditation is almost a fad these days. Just about anyone is offering a new technique or method for just about any application. And while there certainly are good meditation techniques out there, sometimes they miss the mark. For instance, the NY Times recently published an article titled “How to be Mindful at a Wedding.” Have we forgotten how to enjoy a wedding? Do we really need a new meditation technique to do so?


And then there are the spa-like meditation offerings, promising rejuvenation, pampering, and relaxation. Is that really all there is? Can meditation really be defined so simply? Or, are these types of meditation merely skimming the surface?

In response, we thought we’d put together a rapid-fire list to help you identify meditation techniques that may be just skimming the surface, rather than doing what meditation can do.

  • Meditation that revolves squarely around stress relief and nothing else, it’s just skimming the surface. True meditation offers a range of deeper benefits, particularly holistic healing and the pursuit of higher purpose.


  • Meditation that can never scale beyond cognitive processes such as focus, concentration, and mindfulness. True meditation offers a tangible way to access a higher consciousness.


  • Meditation that gives you subjective experiences. True meditation gives you tangible and measurable experiences that correlate with your progress.


  • Meditation that leaves you thinking spiritual rather than giving you methods of becoming and feeling spiritual.


  • Meditation that looks easy and promises magical results within a few minutes. True meditation produces sustained benefits in the long term with patience and perseverance.


  • Meditation that appears cool, easily downloadable and DIY. True meditation involved guided meditation taught by instructors who give custom solutions to your problems in addition to DIY meditation.


  • Meditation that depends on products you must purchase. True meditation empowers you to tap into the power inside you for deeper benefits.


  • Meditation that gives you a lot of knowledge but little experience to back it up. A true meditation program first provides you with the experience and allows the knowledge to be correlated with your experience.


  • Meditation that appears mystical and magical. A real meditation program has a lot of regular people experiencing practical benefits, not just the mystics and monks.


  • Meditation that gives you an either/or view of science and spirituality. True meditation illuminates the parallels between science, psychology, and spirituality.


  • And my personal favorite…Meditation with a commercial intention. True meditation cannot is priceless and cannot be paid for.


  • Meditation that makes you merely feel good. True meditation creates positive changes inside you physically, mentally and emotionally.


  • Meditation techniques that make you read a lot of mumbo-jumbo and preachy stuff. A real program will give you specific information that’s also tangible.


  • Meditation that offers a fashionable, cliched view of chakras, nirvana, karma, dharma, etc. A valuable program will explain these concepts in an authentic manner.


  • Meditation that uses mantras arbitrarily without understanding how they impact you. A real meditation program correlates mantras to the specific powers and essences of chakras inside you.


I’m not Perfect Either.


Of course, none of us are above the temptation to take shortcuts and make excuses, especially when something has to be done daily. Here’s when I catch myself skimming the surface in my own meditation routine:


  • When I glance at my watch during my meditation vs. focusing on my experience.


  • When I rush through my meditation routine vs. trying to slow down and dig deeper.


  • When I pretend I’m so busy that I should skip or shorten my meditation time vs. taking the time I need to keep my subtle energy system healthy.


  • When I tell myself that I’m too tired to meditate vs. using meditation to get rid of my tiredness.


  • When I feel like I’m spiritual because I sometimes say and write smart and eloquent spiritual stuff vs. work on becoming spiritual through my meditation.


  • When I keep meditation and my behaviors separate vs. the effect of meditation percolating into my personality.


  • When I am satisfied with the amount of time I am spending meditating vs. being aware of the quality of my meditation (fewer or no thoughts).


  • When I think I am too good to need any collective meditation vs. using the power of group meditation to balance and clear myself.


  • When I take pride in my accomplishments vs. realizing that the higher power does everything and I’m just an instrument.


And finally, when I think that I’m an expert meditator who doesn’t need work vs. understanding that I’ll be work-in-progress for my entire life.