Both mindfulness and meditation have entered public discussion in the last few years, and much debate carves out space between the two. Yet, at times, the words have come to mean the same thing, which can confuse matters.
No one seems, though, to disagree on many of the benefits of a mindfulness and a meditation practice:
- a calmer, more peaceful mind
- more focus
- an increase in problem-solving capabilities
- an ability to put the pieces together faster and accurately to know what course of action to take
- and the capacity to dispel disagreements and create harmony between people.
The question then is—are we doing something different when are being mindful and when we are meditating?
Here, we’re going to say that mindfulness is a type of meditation that brings your mind into a state where it is fully aware of what is going on, fully aware of what it is paying attention to, while breathing, eating or walking. Watching the mind, being aware of what it is doing—whether it is reviewing the past, making future plans or staying fully in the present—is a powerful, mindfulness meditation. This, indeed, has a profound calming and focusing effect on the mind and body.
Mindfulness meditation, then, becomes a platform for other kinds of meditations that help us to more fully develop qualities like compassion, love, patience, joy and wisdom. It’s the principal step on a ladder towards greater understanding of oneself and the world.
In 2018, continue to join the Asian Classics Institute and Geshe Michael Roach as we develop more classes, retreats and trainings on mindfulness and meditation. Our programs will help everyone master their mind to become a master of meditation, and train qualified teachers to spread these unparalleled techniques.