Recently one of our wonderful Facebook friends asked “what is mindfulness” and “what is the difference between mindfulness meditation and other meditation techniques”?
The word meditation has come to mean many different things.
But all meditation techniques are either concentration (or focus) meditation, or mindfulness meditation techniques.
Here’s a quick look at the differences
& Mindfulness Meditation
Concentration meditation can be compared with a beam of laser that is focused in one particular area; and leaves off everything else.
On the other hand, mindfulness can be compared with the light bulb – its light falls on everything that surrounds it and illuminates them all.
Concentration meditation sharpens the mind and makes it one-pointed. It is very helpful to enhance concentration, calm a wandering mind and prepare the ground for the deep practice of mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation helps in gaining a true insight into the nature of reality. It is also called as “Insight meditation”.
In concentration practices of meditation, the attention is placed on a single object. It might be the breath or any physical object. Remain anchored firmly in present by focusing your attention on the object of meditation.
Focus on keeping your attention towards the object of meditation as much as possible. Whenever your mind wanders off into some thoughts, gently bring it back towards the object of meditation.
Avoid being aggressive or forceful with the mind. Just acknowledge the thoughts that arise, and then gently bring back your attention.
Repeat this process as many times as required. Even being aware of the fact that when the mind has wandered off and when it is anchored on the object of meditation is a sign of success in meditation!
Gradually the mind becomes calmer and the arrival and departure of thoughts begins to slow down. Maintain your attention on the object of meditation throughout the concentration meditation.
Mindful Meditation (Mindfulness)
In concentration meditation, the focus is kept on a single object. Whereas in mindfulness, the witness all types of experiences that we come across and pass through our attention (awareness).
We observe them impartially and remain totally aware of whatever goes on in the moment. The emphasis is not on being focused, but on being mindful.
Mindfulness is all-inclusive. We do not exclude any images, sounds, distractions, feelings or ideas that come across our mind during meditation. We just acknowledge their presence and let them pass by.
We remain a passive witness and do not evaluate or judge them. We just observe the thoughts come and go and unconditionally except whatever comes up – without being for or against it. original story here
What Is Mindfulness?
Help has come to many via an archaic-sounding word — “mindfulness.”
This spiritual practice, popularly associated with eastern meditation, has captured the North American public’s mind, so to speak.
People everywhere now talk about the virtues of mindfulness; in higher education, health care, yoga classes, self-help advice and corporate offices.
For so-called “secular” people who do not find inner peace through Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other organized religions, the admonition to be “mindful” has become an acceptable way to taste stillness.
Known in the past as “contemplation” or “awareness,” mindfulness, unbeknownst to most people, has been integral to Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other western religions for thousands of years. But now it is popularly associated with Buddhism.
Despite its origins in religion, mindfulness has penetrated almost all facets of society in the past decade: public education, emotional and physical health and big business.
Perhaps the main reasons it’s spreading flows from its breakthrough into academia, which has in the past prided itself on being rigorously non-spiritual.
Psychologists, neuro-scientists and other researchers have won scores of grants to study the measurable benefits of this form of meditation.
When Time magazine in 2003 did a major cover story on the “science” of meditation, particularly mindfulness, it was effectively capturing what would go on to become this new millennium’s spiritual zeitgeist.
What, exactly, is mindfulness?
It is one of two fundamental kinds of meditation, the other which emphasizes focusing on specific sounds, images or values. Mindfulness involves being fully present “in the moment.”
Often accomplished by concentrating on one’s breath or body sensations, mindfulness calls for non-judgmental awareness of each thought or feeling that arises, without attempting to change them.
Psychotherapists such as Jon Kabat-Zinn, who is often associated with sparking the mindfulness movement, says the practice is “simple, but not easy.”
Vancouver spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle basically outlines mindfulness concepts in his immensely popular books, such as The Power of Now.
Mindfulness is being studied up the yin-yang. In the U.S. alone, the National Institute of Health has handed out more than 50 major grants to explore mindfulness’s favourable effects.
Researchers are discovering mindfulness is useful for countering compulsive behaviour. It’s also said to promote curiosity.
For the most part, secular university scholars have in the past felt barred from studying religion or spirituality in any way that might suggest it has something positive to offer. Original story here.
But mindfulness meditation has broken through that traditional barrier, since it is said to be available to anyone regardless of religion, or lack thereof.
I love that last sentence. Mindfulness meditation is available to anybody, regardless of religion, or lack thereof.
What is mindfulness?
It’s a meditation technique that truly is available to everyone.
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