You may be wondering what meditation is or what mindfulness is as well as if there is any difference. I am going to attempt to semi-define. Please know that you can choose your own ways to define the terms as this is just a frame of reference to help you if you feel confused. The experience is what matters and in some ways will be unique to you.
Mindfulness is simply paying attention on purpose to things such as thoughts, sensations, sounds, feelings and doing so without passing judgment. We often suggest that mindfulness is being in the present moment. There is, however, the aspect we refer to as “equanimity” which means to be at peace with that moment.
Peace: It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work, it means to be in the midst of those things, and still be calm in your heart. (unknown) Equanimity equals peace of mind.
Mindfulness techniques and practices can be done for a moment or for an extended time. There are a few core practices that you can learn and develop. There are also skills to bring mindfulness into your daily activities so that you are more present. Mindfulness Meditation is really just using these practices to “meditate” and also only one form of meditation.
Meditation and its various forms are mental training practices that may lead to a relaxed state of mind or heightened state of awareness. Many define meditation as a formal practice and it is often done for a set amount of time. There are countless and varied styles. These various style can really be narrowed down to two types. One being “focused attention” where you have an object that keeps your attention and you continue to bring your attention back to that focal point. The other is “open monitored” where you allow your thoughts to wander from one experience or thought to another just noticing. Both are worthy of your attention.
There is a mental space in mindfulness and meditation that seem to encompass everything yet nothing as well as absolute peace and awareness. This is an ideal to place to visit. However, having an end goal in Mindfulness Meditation defeats the practice. AND if your meditation and mindfulness practices stress you out then you need a new plan.
Personally, I tend to believe that simple mindfulness practices lead to a meditation hence Mindfulness Meditation. I believe that mini mindful moments change lives. The beauty of mindfulness is that it can be practiced at any moment while doing anything and anywhere. I also believe that regularly practicing any style meditation lends itself to almost seemingly or accidentally being more mindful through out the day.
In reality it only matters that you practice. Despite the practices being simple, the problem tends to be with incorporating and sticking to a practice in daily life. Don’t under estimate the power of mindfulness. Mindfulness creates this space where you have the power to consciously choose. This is a space of empowerment.
Viktor Frank said: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Certified Life Coach and Mindfulness Meditation Teacher
Amy McCae is a Life Coach and Mindfulness Meditation Teacher in Omaha, Nebraska. She is passionate about healing and helping others and especially about mindfulness and emotional intelligence.
Amy spent her childhood dreaming of being a doctor only to watch her other die of cancer when she was 20. Her life took an entirely different direction after that and she spent much of her 20’s sick with chronic illnesses.
One day Amy was too sick to take care of her newborn baby and she had to crawl to the phone to call for help. Amy then went on a quest to heal and looked in places she never knew existed before that day. AND she healed largely through fitness, nutrition, and meditation.
The experience allowed her to rediscover her passion for healing and helping others. Amy now holds numerous certifications allowing her to be of support to individuals and organizations. Mindfulness Matters is an accredited 8-week online course rooted in science and inspired by her desire to help others develop emotional intelligence (especially leaders and those struggling with self-doubt and overwhelm). Please contact Amy for more information and to sign up!