Meditation vs. Mindfulness: What’s The Difference?
If you’re unsure of the difference between meditation and mindfulness, you’re not alone. Confusion about the meanings of “meditation” and “mindfulness” arise because the words are often used interchangeably to describe the daily practice and various techniques that people undertake to manage stress and anxiety, gain clarity, or situate themselves in the present moment.
Vedic Meditation, the form of meditation that we teach on our MindMojo meditation courses, provides a plethora of benefits. Over the years, there have been numerous studies into what’s going on in the mind and body when we meditate. Much of this was carried out in the 1970s by the Transcendental Meditation (TM) organization set up by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Since then meditation, together with yoga, has become the zeitgeist – a set of ideals and beliefs encapsulated in the culture of our time – and so the situation has arisen whereby the essential elements have become somewhat distorted and diluted.
The mindfulness trend
I have been involved in the worlds of yoga and meditation for decades and have witnessed various ‘styles’ evolve, and often disappear, because in many cases they purport to be offering a shortcut, or a quick fix, to those who want to see results without putting in the effort. The demands of the market dictate the life-cycle of these permutations, and it is interesting to note that when the cycle returns to its original position many people realise that what they are now dealing with, whether it is meditation or yoga, is the real deal. It was always there, hiding in plain sight.
I have witnessed many people try mindfulness and derive various degrees of satisfaction. It certainly offers what many people want. However, from firsthand experience as part of my research into what it has to offer, I would say that it's presentation is often confusing and the results unquantifiable. Neither teachers nor students of mindfulness have ever given me a consistent explanation of what is going on.
Mindfulness as a state
As Vedic Meditators, we would say that we experience mindfulness as a result of meditation practice. Mindfulness is not the process, nor the set of techniques. In our view mindfulness is not a practice, it is an outcome of meditation. Regular meditation stimulates and cultivates a refinement of the self, which becomes part of the fascinating and life-enhancing journey we have embarked on. This constant refining creates a state of mindfulness, amongst other beneficial results. It is also usual for new meditators to immediately gain significant stress release, improved sleep, and an increase in energy.
As tension and anxiety melts away following the daily practice of Vedic Meditation, we can experience all that the world gives us with a heightened awareness of the present moment, paying attention to our thoughts and feelings and the world around us in a non-judgemental way. In summary, meditation is a life-enhancing technique through which we can achieve a more mindful state of being.
Interested in finding out more about MindMojo’s meditation courses and how meditation can benefit you? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or book on to one of our free, no-obligation introductory talks in London here.