Mindfulness vs Meditation: Here's the difference
Mindfulness and meditation are often wrongly used interchangeably. While they are not technically the same, they do complement each other. Meditation, on one hand, is a practice of concentrating on one thing, while mindfulness, on the other hand, is the conscious awareness of the present moment. To understand in detail the difference between the two buzzwords, keep on reading.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the simple act of staying aware and being present in whatever you're doing. When you're being mindful, you're observing the world around you, as well as your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and movements and the effects your actions have on people around you.
What is meditation?
Meditation typically refers to formal, seated meditation practice. It involves focusing on deep breathing and training your mind to stay stable. When your mind wanders, you try to bring your focus back to your breath. Meditation is a practice that helps cultivate mindfulness.
Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere
Meditation requires focused concentration whereas mindfulness extends beyond the formal sitting meditation practice. Mindfulness can be practiced while you eat your food, read a book, work, or simply while engaging in conversations. It doesn't have a time limit nor does it require a quiet place, unlike meditation. Mindfulness can become a way of living by staying present in every moment of your daily life.
Meditation is a tool to develop mindfulness
Meditation is one of the tools to develop mindfulness. It is a way to plant the seeds of mindfulness so that it grows throughout our lives. Through meditation, you learn to live mindfully. The former is extremely effective in helping people be more aware of their daily life experiences. Despite being an effective tool, it is just one of the means to cultivate mindfulness.
While meditation is a practice, mindfulness is the ability
Meditation is a practice, whereas mindfulness is a skill that you can use throughout the day. It can be explained using the following analogy: what meditation is to reading, mindfulness is to comprehension. Reading a text is a practice, but understanding the text requires comprehension. You may comprehend something through other modes of communication like hearing or seeing, but reading is one of them.
Mindfulness can exist without meditation
To understand it better, let's jump back to the analogy used above. Your ability to comprehend can exist without you even reading. Reading just uses your ability to comprehend. Similarly, mindfulness can be achieved through several other practices than just meditation. You don't need to have a formal meditation routine to practice tuning into your present moment.
Mindfulness is only one aspect of meditation
Mindfulness is the ability to perform meditation, but it's not the only one. There are other abilities that let you perform meditation such as concentration. Your mind without concentration can wander inevitably to a thousand unexpected places. When the mind is wandering, performing meditation becomes difficult. Training your mind to be more attentive allows you to perform meditation more successfully.