Lately, people have been asking me what the difference between meditation and mindfulness is. Believe it or not, I was ready to jump right in to explain, and then I thought that maybe I should think more about the two or better yet do some research so I could tell it adequately.
Well, I did some research and found several resources that provided definitions. Joel and Michelle Levey describe the two very well in their book entitled Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mind Fitness.
Meditation “classically refers to a broad spectrum of methods, disciplines, and practices for training our minds and reducing our neurotic tendencies and misconceptions, while cultivating or strengthening our capacity for living with greater wisdom, compassion, patience, balance, mastery of attention, and other virtuous qualities of mind.”
Mindfulness “refers to a set of mental disciplines that bring greater awareness, presence, and wisdom, to our moment-to-moment experience.”
Further research says that meditation includes the practice of mindfulness and way more. There is a wide array of meditation practices, all of which have their “unique signature qualities” that strengthen and activate the mind.
I couldn’t help thinking that mindfulness is also a form of meditation. For more information on this, check out Concetta Antonelli’s blog posts here: “You May Be Meditating Without Even Knowing It” and “Mindfulness: Your GPS to Greater Health” and Ann Serrie’s post “Make Every Moment Count.”
I’ve used meditation to keep my mind in check. To 1) reduce the effects of the “monkey mind” that can often take hold and sometimes create a lot of anxiety for me and 2) to achieve a heightened state of consciousness.
And I’ve practiced mindfulness to be more focused on the present vs. dwell on the past or wonder what the future might bring. To help me remember to do that, I started with setting three Mindful Moment reminders on my phone to alert me throughout my day. It’s helped me get into the practice of being more mindful. Those moments mean a lot when my day quickly passes me by without taking note of the present. And now I no longer have to rely on the reminders but keep them anyway just in case.
The Practical Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness
I must say that regardless of anyone’s definition, the two – Meditation and Mindfulness certainly complement one another. Besides, research has shown there are tremendous benefits experienced, such as reducing anxiety and depression, lowering blood pressure, improving focus, enabling better sleep habits, to name a few.
The combination of the two helps train the mind and enhance your overall Mind Fitness level, like a personal training routine but for the brain. Light bulb! That got me thinking that Mind Fitness should be on everyone’s radar screen as a training routine for self-mastery. It could be the antidote to heal the human heart and create a revolution in human consciousness on a global scale.