Misconceptions about Meditation

In my experience, these are the most common misconceptions people have about meditation. They are misconceptions about vipassana (and Zen practice). Of course, people have numerous definitions of the word "meditation", some of which include things untrue under my definition. -- Greg

Common erroneous beliefs
Closer to the truth
Meditation involves becoming spaced out, blissed out, or less conscious. Meditation involves high states of concentration where one becomes much more alert, present and aware. A state of calm & matter-of-fact acceptance of reality -- equanimity -- makes one appear spaced out while meditating. High concentration -- samadhi -- is a tool used to enhance awareness of ordinary experience, like a microscope is used to improve observation in biology.
The main purpose of meditation is relaxation or stress reduction -- or to experience peace or bliss. These are useful preliminary effects, but the goal is to clear the way for transformative insights which lead toward a wisdom so profound that it results in peace and happiness independent of conditions.
Meditation produces an altered state of consciousness. Altered only in the sense that it is different from ordinary cluttered & confused consciousness -- altered like pure water is "altered" muddy water. Meditation leads in the direction of the only UN-altered state consciousness -- nirvana. Student: "What is Zen?" Master: "Nothing added."
Meditation isn't for me because I'm a Christian (Muslim, Jew, etc.). Meditation is about reality -- seeing "things as they are". There are no beliefs to adopt which might conflict with one's religion. Meditation can only help one's understanding. "Zen leads one to God, but refuses to name it." Of course, if one's religion requires delusion, meditation is a threat!
"Gardening is my meditation." "I meditate on music." "Meditation is having loving thoughts." "Prayer and Meditation are the same." "Yoga is my meditation." "Meditation is deep thinking." "By Buddhist criteria, only a practice which palpably and relentlessly destroys the grip of desire, aversion and confusion is worthy of the name meditation." -- Shinzen Young, Misconceptions
Do you have a favorite "common misconception"? Tell me and I'll include it here.