The terms mindfulness and meditation are often used jointly in discourse and media articles these days. To the newcomer, they seem to mean roughly the same thing. In practice, both disciplines can dovetail into each other and even overlap. So how do you tell them apart and practice effectively?
Mindfulness is the practice of focussing one’s awareness or concentration on the current moment through different means e.g. senses, objects, breath or mantra. Awareness is focussed on a ‘thing’. In mindfulness, we are actively aware of the body, breath, thoughts and senses. We can practice this paying of attention anytime and anywhere to experience the present. Regular practice affords us the ability to be in the here and now. We can observe mindfulness as we walk around, but most practitioners will take some quiet time and practice in comfort away from the hustle and bustle of life.
Meditation is the practice of contemplation or reflection. We are not focussing on one thing, rather we are sitting towards an awareness of ‘no’ thing. Meditation is best practised in quiet comfort for an allotted time slot to focus one’s attention inward. In meditation, we may also observe the body, breath and mind so that we are brought to a place of quiet contemplation and reflection.
So you see both practices embody some similarities but are subtly different. With regular practice, both disciplines offer balance, calm, peace of mind and enhanced quality of life.
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Grainne Toher – Founder of Still Mind App – make peace with busy.