For years there has been an ongoing debate between meditation and mindfulness and which is the better practice. However, the truth is that both of these practices offer outstanding benefits to their practitioners.
Both meditation and mindfulness have their roots in ancient Buddhism, although other religions also practice meditation in their own way. On the other hand, these terms are often used interchangeably to describe the state and practice of calming your mind to help you be closer to your spiritual self.
In general, meditation and mindfulness are two sides of the same coin. No one is better than the other because they offer different benefits. Still pretty confused?
If you want to learn more about how meditation and mindfulness are different from each other, please refer to this article. You will know how practicing is either of these two benefits for you. In addition, we will share with you how their meanings and interpretations have changed over time. First, let's talk about meditation.
What is meditation
Meditation practices are long older than Buddhism and their roots can be traced back to several ancient religions. The easiest way to explain meditation is to describe it as a practice in which you are purposely trying to change your life and adjust to all aspects of your personality.
Meditation is not just a thing or a single technique; It involves several exercises that should be done over time. It can take the form of exercises (yoga), prayer rituals, and even music, all of which try to help you regulate yourself. In general, practitioners will try to focus their minds on their breathing, removing any external distractions.
In ancient times, meditation focused on spiritual growth and overcoming emotions. It is expected to leave its practitioner in a calm and present state. However, when the practice was adopted in the West, it took many forms.
Its primary goals have been realigned to match those of secular yet modern society. Today it is used as a method for reducing stress and improving health. Meditation is still used in Hinduism, and some Christians claim that they "meditate on the word of God". This type of meditation is obviously used for the purpose of spiritual growth.
What is mindfulness
One way to understand mindfulness is to look at it as the presence or "novelty." Mindfulness can be described as the essence that brings the mind into the present moment. It's about removing overwhelming emotions from the mind.
In this sense it can be said that mindfulness is a form of meditation. In mindfulness, you focus your full attention on an object, person, or task. During meditation, being aware of your breathing also means practicing mindfulness in a way, as this will help you become more aware of your presence.
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Buddhists call this mindfulness meditation samatha. When practiced informally, mindfulness simply means trying to become more aware of your activities and the things around you.
The Five Mindfulness Training program was introduced by a modern day Buddhist monk. However, his student popularized and promoted mindfulness as a stress reliever with a health-related approach. As a result, mindfulness is now being used in the treatment of chronically ill patients.
As we mentioned earlier, mindfulness and meditation are different from each other. However, there are cases when they overlap. To better understand this, let's compare them side by side.
Meditation against mindfulness
Meditation is a broad term and includes mindfulness and various other techniques. It is about reaching the ultimate level of awareness and concentration so that the mind can be self-regulated.
In addition, it is also about observing and practicing the virtues of love, patience, compassion and mindfulness. They may have similarities, but there are some aspects of mindfulness that are not necessarily considered meditation.
For example, you can get your mind to focus entirely on one thing like eating, but it is not meditation as it is not formal. However, applying mindfulness to your formal meditation practices is meditation.
One of the many things Buddhism teaches is that if you were fully focused on or fully aware of your breathing would help you meditate faster.
That being said, combining these two ancient practices has advantages. So ideally, there should really be no competition between meditation and mindfulness.
Meditation and mindfulness combined
If you feel like doing something, you might as well do your best to get the most of it, right? In that light, you can actually combine the practice of meditation and mindfulness to reap all of its many benefits.
You can learn to be more mindful in your daily life to relieve stress and improve your mental, spiritual, and physical health. In fact, it is believed that mindfulness practitioners are better able to combat obesity and unhealthy eating habits.
In addition, mindfulness practitioners also experience an improvement in sleep quality and focus. They are also less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
These are just some of the benefits of practicing mindfulness. We all know that meditation helps a person relax and develop self-awareness and self-love. So imagine you combine the two?
Meditation is seen as a way to transform the mind and free it from outside distractions. Mindfulness, on the other hand, is when you are aware of your current state. Hence they are two different things. However, there are times when they overlap.
The truth is that people can actually practice mindfulness without consciously practicing meditation. Mindfulness meditation is probably one of the most popular types of meditation in which you focus entirely on a single object.
While both meditation and mindfulness seem like practices that you would like to embody in your daily life for true health and spiritual benefits, you may need to attend a teacher-led course in person. This way, you can learn valuable techniques from certified teachers.
The path to learning meditation and mindfulness can be a bit challenging. However, as the experts have advised, you need to focus on paying attention in order to have a stable stepping stone for improving your meditation experience.