Meditation and mindfulness are often considered synonymous, and seemed to be interchanged frequently. There is something called mindful meditation, but to me that is like saying meditation meditation. Websters dictionary defines mindfulness as the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis. It also says that it is the state of being mindful. Mindful is define as inclined to be aware. When you are meditating you can be aware of certain things from your breathing, how your body is feeling and relaxing, and your thoughts and surroundings. Can meditating help you be more mindful during the rest of your day, and is this really a good thing. Being mindful is being in the moment of what ever you are doing, no matter how mundane. If you are drying dishes, then you should only be thinking of drying dishes, according to people who advocate being mindful all day long. Should that be all you are thinking about when you are walking is putting one foot in front of the other, and feeling every part of your body, as it moves. I guess you should, if you are walking along the edge of a cliff. For me, when I am walking, I have come up with some of my best ideas, to help make my life better, and more enjoyable.
Mindfulness is associated with Buddhism and Buddhist monks in particular. The monks meditated 2 to 3 hours per day. They got rid of all their material possessions and tried to stay mindful for the entire day. In the modern world, this is something that is not possible, or really necessary. I am not sure that being mindful, helps you deal with some of the problems, of everyday life. Yes, when you have a particular task to do in life, then you had better pay attention, or be mindful during the process of doing, and completing the task. Trying to be mindful of every single little thing that we do, may create more stress, than what it is worth. There are some people that believe there are benefits from being mindful. They feel that staying in the present, which is a result of mindfulness, can keep us from stewing over past mistakes, and worrying about the future. The feeling is it can also help in dealing with change, that is inevitably going to happen. In order to learn and to plan for the future, we are going to have to think of the past and the future. Let’s look at some facts of life, that every one of us has to deal with. Change is going to happen, whether we want it or not. Worrying about things, has never accomplished anything. Will being mindful help any of this. Will meditating help any of this. I think the former will not and the latter will. Being mindful is more of a life goal, while meditating is a process that requires 20 minutes a day minimum to receive the benefits.
There are many people today that are strong advocates of being mindful during your entire day. They feel that meditating will help you become more mindful, the mindful meditators. There is only one way to become more mindful during the day and that is simply to be more mindful. There may be a benefit but it still may not be practical in this world today. When at home, don’t talk to me I am drying the dishes. When at work, don’t talk to me, I’m getting a soda out of the machine. I do not think mindfulness leads to a better life. Mindfulness and meditation are not the same thing, not even close. In fact this relationship that mindfulness and meditation supposedly have, can discourage people from meditating, if the goal is to become more mindful. This should not be the goal of meditation. I have written before about what meditation can accomplish and mindfulness is not one of them. If you want to become more mindful, go ahead and give it a go. It can be a daunting task, however. There are many other daunting tasks in life, that we have to deal with, in order to survive, and provide for our love ones. Why add another one?
3 Replies to “Meditation: Is it Mindfulness”
I agree that both mindfulness and meditation are two different things. However, they both have their value.
Mindfulness does help with my golf game because he it helps me stay focused on each shot. It does not mean that this mental exercise overtakes my game, but helps me focus for a short period of time on what I am doing.
Meditation is a different mental exercise. For me it helps improve my overall healing and mental strength. It helps focus my thoughts for a longer period of time with the intent of being a stronger mentally and physically.
I adopted both about 10 years ago and found that they help enrich my life. Great article for discussion.
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Thanks for the comments. Yes mindfulness can help any task and we all know golf is a task. I am not sure however that mindfulness should be a way of life
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Like you said, it helps accomplishing something. It can be a way of life as long as it does not overshadow the act of living. There must be some kind of balance for sure. Great topic.