What Is The Difference Between Meditation And Mindfulness

meditation and mindfulness on the beach

What Is The Difference Between Meditation And Mindfulness

Many people use meditation and mindfulness interchangeably. What do you think about when you think about meditation? You may think of yoga or sitting cross-legged. And what do you think of when you think of mindfulness? Are you thinking of the same thing or something else? Is there any difference between the two? Mindfulness and meditation are two terms that are often confused. They are very similar, but there is a difference. What exactly is the difference? In this post you can read what meditation and mindfulness mean and what the difference is between meditation and mindfulness.

What Is Mindfulness

In short, mindfulness is a form of meditation. The two are similar in that they are both a form of contemplation, alertness and reflection. Meditation can also take different forms, such as the Mantra meditation (where you repeat a word or phrase to focus yourself) or the Vipassana meditation (several days of silent self-reflection). Mindfulness is more direct. Mindfulness is being aware of things through non-judgmental self-reflection. Imagine that you look at your problems the way you look at the clouds: your brain is free of judgment, but you are fully aware of what you are doing. Studies have shown that mindfulness can change the way you view yourself and the world around you. The biggest advantage? It (apparently) promotes your mental, physical and emotional health.

Mindfulness refers to the state of the mind when you are aware of everything around and within yourself. This also happens as a result of perfect concentration and awareness of your mind. Hence, this can be achieved by practicing concentration which can be done through meditation. Therefore, mindfulness is the act of focusing on being in the present.

The human mind tends to change very quickly; therefore concentrating on a specific thing becomes difficult in the long run. A person who has practiced mindfulness can notice any change in their mind and thus focus on their actions to achieve the optimal result.

According to the expert, mindfulness is being aware of the world around you. With mindfulness you focus your attention on the present and turn off your thoughts about later. The focus is on what you are doing at that moment and on enjoying the moment. Mindfulness means that you are more aware of everything. That sounds very general, but are you walking home after a long, hectic day at work? Then use that moment to think about what you actually experienced that day. Take it all day long, from the first cup of coffee with colleagues to that energy-guzzling, but very important meeting. Be aware of everything you do in a day.

Secular or a path to enlightenment? Mindfulness is secular, and can help temporarily relieve stress. Buddhism is a spiritual path with the ultimate goal of enlightenment. That is an important and big difference.

In mindfulness, at least when I compare it to the meditations I practice in my studio, more emphasis is placed on ‘mindfulness of the body’. The mindfulness training you immediately start with the body scan, in which you walk through the different parts of your body with your attention. Focusing on the body, I think for us westerners, is a good way to get out of your head. Often, when I do a coaching session and meditate with people for a while, I also use this technique and the response is often: ‘This was exactly what I needed’.

What you will learn will come mainly from within, from what you, yourself experience as your life unfolds moment by moment, and not from some outside authority or teacher or religion. Our philosophy is that you, yourself are the expert in life, your body and your mind, or at the very least you are in the best position to become that expert if you observe yourself carefully. Part of the meditation adventure is using yourself as a laboratory to discover who you are and what you can do. You can perceive a lot just by looking.

Mindfulness and meditated brain

What Is Meditation?

Meditation (Bhavana) is an exercise of relaxation and concentration of one’s mind. It was first practiced by the spiritual leaders in India, which was later recommended as a fundamental practice by Lord Buddha, who is the founder of Buddhism. Meditation is considered one of the main avenues one should take when practicing the Eightfold Path in Buddhism. 

There are several ways to meditate. You can focus on your breathing, but you can also focus on your whole body. By meditating, you can calm your mind, this feeling is often described as silence, tranquility and happiness.

You learn that it is possible to rely on a stable inner core, which is very reliable and steadfast. While the surface of your mind may still be rough and agitated at times, like the surface of the sea, you can learn to accept that mind is like that and at the same time experience an underlying inner peace in a domain that is always there.

Meditation is often described as formal, seated meditation practice. The whole idea behind meditation is that it is an intentional practice. Through focus you increase relaxation, calmness, concentration and awareness through a mantra, your breathing or sound. Meditation normally begins with a deep breath with eyes closed. Through your deep breathing you bring all of your awareness to your breath and are guided to an anchor, a single point of focus. A certain amount of time is normally set aside for meditation, this can range from a few minutes to an hour or more.

The problems with talking about meditation stem from the fact that it is about something that lies outside the language and the mind. It’s about experience. And as soon as you try to understand and put that experience into words with your mind, you are actually missing the point.

Meditation will eventually make you mindful more easily and more often.

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