Meditation / Mindfulness — What is the Difference?

Meditation / Mindfulness — What is the Difference?

There has been a surge in the exploration and practice of mindfulness and meditation for mental wellness, health and pain. If you are a novice starting out, here’s a quick beginner’s reference to help.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is described as the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something, a therapeutic technique to focus awareness on being and fully accepting the present moment.

Meditation

Meditation is the action or practice (mental exercise) of meditating using a technique (such as mindfulness) with the purpose of reaching a heightened level of awareness.

Meditation tips for beginners

  • Be consistent. Select a time of day that that you can incorporate into your routine. Whether upon waking, during lunch or at bedtime, make it a time and place that works for you to make a commitment.
  •  Be comfortable and keep your spine upright, aligned. Try a variety of positions to see what works best for you; quarter, half, full lotus, or in a chair. No human pretzel The key is to be alert and pain free.
  • Rest your hands. Palms can rest up or down on the thigh. Alternatively, rest one hand in the palm upward in your lap.
  • Close your eyes. If you can close your eyes, focus on a tip of your nose.
  • Start small and build with time. Begin with as little as five minutes and steady increase another five with practice.
  • Initially, focus on your breathing. Allow the full capacity of your lungs to fill, abdomen expanding on inhalation and contracting on exhalation.
  • Perform a body scan. As you bring aware to parts of your body, from head to toe, notice any places of resistance, pain, or discomfort. Breathe into these spaces. Ease and relax the brow, jaw, relax your gaze, lower shoulders, seat the hips fully.
  • Take it in and be open. Sit with whatever arises. Allow your mind to wander and then return as a wave ebbs and flows. Return to your breathing. Allow kindness and compassion to flow in between the minds wandering
  • End by slowing returning to your environment. Gently flutter the eyes, slowly stretch parts of the body, and rise with ease.

 

Discipline is an obedience to awareness — Jung

Outdoor meditation

3 Tenets to guide your meditation practice

Understand that the goal of meditation is not to get achieve distraction-free focus and clarity. Here are three tenants to keep in mind and continuously work on.

  1. Embrace the unknown and impermanence. Let go of fixed ideas about yourself and the universe.
  2. Bear witness to the joy and suffering in the world. One cannot have one without the other.
  3. Be compassionate. Actively engage in empathic thinking and action toward yourself and others.

 

Discipline is an obedience to awareness — Jung

Meditation tools

You don’t have to go it your own. There are plenty of audio/online tools to get you started in your meditation journey. Here are a couple of helpful meditation guides.

  • Headspace
  • Calm
  • Insight Timer

 

Aubrey

Author

Rev. Aubrey Cutchin

MSN, RN, LMT

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