In times like these, the whole world talks about the importance of meditation and mindfulness.
But is it really clear to everyone what these two terms mean?
Meditation and mindfulness are often mixed up or even not distinguished at all.
I try to bring some clarity into these two interesting topics.
In my certification seminar as a meditation and mindfulness trainer, I learned a very nice and simple definition for meditation. Meditation is a conscious attempt to focus attention in a non-analytical way, and then attempt not to dwell on discursive ruminating thoughts. So, every moment could be meditation. If we bring our full attention to the moment, whatever the activity is, we could be meditating.
Here are some examples:
- If you take a shower and our attention is on the meeting point between the water and your body and you feel the heat and feel the sensations in your body and you are really in the present moment, then you are meditating (as you take a shower).
- When you go hiking you are most of the time thinking about other things, which obviously isn’t meditating. But if you are focusing on the movement of the muscles, feeling the muscles and the whole body and feeling the connection with the ground or feeling the wind touching your face, and your attention is in the present moment, with these sensations and experiences of hiking, you are meditating. That’s the meditation of hiking. So as long as you are fully present within the experience, you could be meditating.
But what is Mindfulness? Or the difference between Meditation and Mindfulness?
Meditation was created about 5,000 years ago – as part of religion and spirituality.
So, it was rooted in religion and in spirituality. It was created for a particular purpose for spiritual development and enlightenment.
Mindfulness is quite different because it has been created about 50 years ago in the West, so it’s the Western version of that original meditation, and it has been created for the purpose of living life in the Western world today.
And this world today is an extremely fast world so that we can experience less stress and less anxiety.
We all want to feel more peacefulness, and we want to find a way to deal with some issues we have, like illness or pain or psychological problems.
As part of mindfulness, the whole question of spirituality is almost completely neglected. Spirituality is not part of mindfulness practice today in the West.
In my opinion, there is no right or wrong, or good or bad! The context is different – that`s all. But we should keep that in mind when we talk about meditation or mindfulness.
There are so many different “sub-areas” of meditation and of mindfulness. And every area or specific topic has its reason of being here. But that’s a topic for another BLOG.
So, what is your favorite practice? Meditation, Mindfulness, or both 😉?
Whatever now you know the difference and you can answer it … 😉
~ Ursula Perl / Certified Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher