10 May Comparing Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation and Mindfulness: both popular topics right now, are beautiful and effective practices for bringing about much of what we all want in our lives, like peace of mind and less reactivity.
People are often confused about what Mindfulness actually is because in reading articles about Mindfulness and Meditation, I see their descriptions used interchangeably. It is my understanding that Mindfulness and Meditation are two different practices, and when viewed as such, any confusion that might be lurking is cleared.
Meditation is a practice that allows us to transcend thought. Not remove thoughts, but to place one’s attention on the breath, a mantra, or space. During Meditation, thoughts are still in the mind, but the attention is elsewhere, so the thoughts are not engaged. Meditation is done in a state of silence and physical inactivity.
Mindfulness, on the other hand, is a state we bring to everyday activity. We place our attention entirely on what is happening in the present so that we fully engage with whatever we are doing, rather than allow ourselves to be distracted by thoughts of the past or future. Examples would be to focus on the appearance, texture, and taste of your food as you’re eating a meal, or to listen with full attention when someone is speaking to you, rather than on what you want to say next, or on what else you might need to do.
Both Mindfulness and Meditation have the vast benefit of bringing increased awareness to all aspects of our lives. This allows us to make choices that are intentional, and much more likely to lead us in the direction of the fulfillment of our dreams and desires.
Trish Duley Zimburean, MD