What Is The Difference Between Meditation and Mindfulness
Mindfulness seems to be the current holistic buzz word when it comes to exploring self-awareness. It is a simple technique that is often used to describe many forms of inner work, and is often confused with meditation. Both meditation and mindfulness are beneficial self-healing techniques that we should all take time to incorporate into our busy schedule. However, neither practice is a quick fix to nirvana.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a practice of self-awareness that is centuries old and popular the world over. The practice is often linked to spirituality, Buddhism, yoga, reincarnation and seeking truth. Meditation is about transforming the mind so that you are fully able to connect to your soul or divinity. It involves contemplation, reflection, concentration, deliberation, prayer and conscious awareness. Regular practice teaches you how to achieve clarity of thought, find emotional stability and create a positive state of being.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of being watchful and of learning how to be fully appreciative of all that is. It is often thought of as a modern lifestyle choice and linked to psychology, education and rational thinking. Mindfulness is simply about taking notice of the way you are feeling in the moment so that your focus is intensified and thoughts become clearer. It is very likely that you experience fragments of mindfulness of a regular daily basis but simply do not have the clarity and understanding to appreciate those moments. Consider a time when you caught yourself smiling for no apparent reason or became transfixed watching a butterfly dance. Being fully present in those moments and experiencing the feeling is called being mindful.
Although both practices have many benefits, for the self-awareness novice mindfulness may appear a little more attractive and user-friendly. Meditation requires considered practice of taking time out to relax in a quiet space where you can sit or lie down. It also means that we have to turn our focus inward in order to achieve the desired state. Mindfulness, on the other hand can be easily incorporated into daily practice because we are able to flip into a state of conscious thinking in an instant if we so choose. Mindfulness relates to our thoughts and also to our emotions, actions and the language we use to communicate, and is therefore easily integrated into everyday life.
Whether you are exploring mindfulness or delving into meditation practice there are two key skills that you must master. You need to learn how to relax. Proper relaxation is about more than sitting in a comfy chair. Learning how to relax quickly and consciously creates the perfect foundation on which to build meditative practice and daily mindfulness. Controlling your thoughts and paying full attention is the second technique that allows you to fully benefit from the self-awareness practices. Without clarity of mind you will hinder your progress in either modality.
A Cautionary Tale
Regardless of whether it is mindfulness or meditation that floats your boat there will be times when the practice just isn’t working for you. You may find your mind does not stop racing or one negative thought triggers a whole chain of limiting beliefs and you simply can’t get focused enough to relax into the required state. Relax, and let the frustration go. Accept that your connection will slip back into place at the right time. Explore both methods of achieving greater self-awareness and decide for yourself.