I’ve been wrapping my head around these two concepts for awhile now. Mindfulness seems to be the buzz word these days. Everywhere you look, people are jumping on the “mindfulness” bandwagon. Time magazine dubbed 2014 the “Year of Mindfulness”, celebrities meditate, large corporations like Google have meditation rooms, but what is it? Critics describe mindfulness as “meditation without the religion”. Is that what it is?
Jon Kabat-Zinn is largely credited with bringing mindfulness to the west with his mindfulness based stress reduction course (MBSR). He describes mindfulness as "paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.”
So where does meditation come into play? Meditation in the dictionary is described as “think deeply or focus one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.”
I like to think that mindfulness is a way of being and meditation as the practice, or weight lifting, you do to be able to be mindful more often. It is possible to be mindful without meditation, but it makes it easier to be mindful if you have some practice in your back pocket. Mindfulness is deeply living in the present moment. It is being aware of all that is going on around you, in a physical, emotional, and thoughtful way. Meditation is the practice of focusing your attention on one thing, your anchor, and training your brain to come back to it over and over again. Your anchor could be your breath, body sensations, chanting, mantras, and a host of different things.
I’ll leave you with an example of a meditative vs. a mindful walk:
A meditative walk would be focusing on the sensations of your feet as they lift, move, place, lift, move, place.
A mindful walk would be noticing the blue sky, hearing the birds, feeling the warmth of the sun and noticing how your body responds.
What are your thoughts? Does this ring true or do you have another point of view?