Meditation and Mindfulness, Naturally

I have been talking about meditation a lot recently. I want to make sure that I don’t lose sight of the difference between meditation and mindfulness. I have slightly modified my previous opinion on when to use each word.

Meditation (at least the kind that I practice) is when you sit still and concentrate on your breath. It is concentrated mindfulness.

Mindfulness is when you think of nothing other than the present moment. The color of the sky. The way your body is positioned. The smell of dinner cooking. Et cetera.

I have found that I am more mindful immediately after meditating. But you don’t have to meditate in order to be mindful. It is just good practice.

I think it is safe to say that meditation is not something that would naturally occur to someone. A person sitting down and doing nothing but thinking about his or her breath for long periods of time is not a person in their natural state.

Mindfulness is a different story. I have not determined if it is a natural thing to do or not. It does not come naturally to me. It could be because mindfulness just doesn’t come natural to anyone, but I doubt that. More than likely, I have built up years of habits in my thoughts that keep me away from mindfulness.

What does a child do? From what I can tell, they observe everything with a complete sense of wonder. They are less likely to be filled with worries about the future or to reminisce about the past. They seem to live in the present moment. But at the same time, a child is filled with imagination. Their minds are off in distant lands, flying in the sky, or riding ponies (or whatever it is they think of).

So, I am going to say that meditation is definitely not a natural thing to do. Mindfulness is natural but it is not the only way to think. Like most everything, there is a balance.

You need mindfulness in your life, just not all the time.

Leave a comment