Mindfulness & Meditation: What’s the Difference?

The method is simply an aide; it’s not the experience itself

Ed and Deb Shapiro
May 8, 2017 · 4 min read
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Nowadays, mindfulness and meditation are often used to mean the same thing, which can be confusing, while not many are clear on what ‘mindfulness meditation’ is and how it differs from either of the above. So here’s our version:

Mindfulness is being aware. It’s noticing and paying attention to thoughts, feelings, behavior, and everything else. Mindfulness can be practiced at any time, wherever we are, whoever we are with, and whatever we are doing, by showing up and being fully engaged in the here and now.

That means being free of both the past and future — the what if’s and what maybe’s — and free of judgment of right or wrong — the I’m-the-best or I’m-no-good scenarios — so that we can be totally present without distraction.

Mindfulness also releases ‘happy’ chemicals in the brain; it lowers blood pressure, improves digestion, and relaxes tension around pain. It is simple to practice and wonderful in effect. Not a bad deal when all that is needed is to pay attention, which sounds like something we should all be doing but often forget. When we do pay attention, then change becomes possible.

Mindfulness and meditation are mirror-like reflections of each other: mindfulness supports and enriches meditation, while meditation nurtures and expands mindfulness. Where mindfulness can be applied to any situation throughout the day, meditation is usually practiced for a specific amount of time.

Mindfulness is the awareness of “some-thing,” while meditation is the awareness of “no-thing.”

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Courtesy of Unsplash

There are many forms of meditation. Some are aimed at developing a clear and focused mind, known as ‘Clear Mind’ meditations. Others are aimed at developing altruistic states, such as loving kindness, compassion or forgiveness, known as ‘Open Heart’ meditations. Others use the body as a means to develop awareness, such as yoga or walking; others use sound, as in chanting or intoning sacred words.

Mindfulness Meditation is a form of Clear Mind meditation. Attention is paid to the natural rhythm of the breath while sitting, and to the rhythm of slow walking. This alone can have an enormous impact. Ultimately, the method is simply an aide; it’s not the experience itself. A hammer can help build a house but it’s not the house.

In the same way, meditation practice is not an end in itself. We may wander off and do all sorts of other things, but stillness will always be there. It is a companion to have throughout life, like an old friend we turn to when in need of direction, inspiration, and clarity. There’s no right or wrong way to practice, we all do it differently. Most important of all, meditation is to be enjoyed!

Extracted from Ed and Deb Shapiro: The Unexpected Power of Mindfulness & Meditation.

Thrive Global

More than living. Thriving.

Ed and Deb Shapiro

Written by

Mindful meditation experts, authors The Unexpected Power of Mindfulness & Meditation, corporate coaches, meditation CDs. See more at EdandDebShapiro.com

Thrive Global

More than living. Thriving.

Ed and Deb Shapiro

Written by

Mindful meditation experts, authors The Unexpected Power of Mindfulness & Meditation, corporate coaches, meditation CDs. See more at EdandDebShapiro.com

Thrive Global

More than living. Thriving.

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