The terms mindfulness and meditation are buzz words here in the West at the minute. We hear that they are good for us and can help us cope with our stressful lives but both terms are used interchangeably so are mindfulness and meditation the same thing? No they’re not, in my experience and opinion, and I’m going to explain it to you what I think they mean.
In my experience and my understanding mindfulness is, as I have said before, awareness. Being mindful is simply being aware of what is happening when it is happening. When we are mindfully colouring we are aware of the feeling of the pencil in our hands, we are aware of the colours we are using. We know that we are colouring when we are colouring and we are not thinking about lots of other things at the same time.
Meditation on the other hand is when you sit or lie in a quiet place with the aim of focusing on one thing; your breath, music, sounds, and you are actively trying to not focus on things that are not happening in the moment. We can be mindful at anytime and anywhere but meditation requires you to set aside time and for you to have a relatively quiet space that you won’t be disturbed. It can take more effort to meditate then it can to be mindful. When we are mindful you don’t have to change or do anything differently. The main struggle with mindfulness is quietening our mind and our thoughts. We do this in meditation as well but you also have to get yourself to take the time out and sit or lie quietly.
Anyone following our Mindfulness in Action steps where I am asking you to try 5 minutes (or more if you want) of meditation a day will already know how difficult it is to quieten your thoughts and for those of you who haven’t started a meditation practice you’ll have to take my word for it! Or you could try it yourself 😉
Mindfulness in Action
Our Mindfulness in Action this week is for the whole family. I want you and anyone else in your household to write down three things you are grateful for at the end of every day. You could do this in your journal or you could do it as a family and everyone writes different things on pieces of paper, puts them in a jar and then by the end of the week, month or even the year you have lots of lovely memories to read.