Over the years, I have written many articles and posts on understanding mindfulness and mindfulness meditation. Through comments, questions and my own experience, I’ve come to realize that the biggest misunderstanding seems to be one regarding the difference between mindfulness itself and mindfulness meditation. The wandering mind is often confusing to folks as many think that if the mind wanders, this is a sort of “failure”. The most important thing to realize, next to it being normal, is that each time the mind wanders, it is an opportunity to “begin again” or to escort awareness back to the present moment…as many times as it takes. This action is the heart of mindfulness: cultivating awareness – being mindful of distraction and returning focus back to this moment, this breath.
Mindfulness Meditation is the practice of cultivating awareness. It is the choice to take a few minutes to a longer period of time in silence, observing the mind along with sensations and emotions. In meditation we notice what is present, without changing anything. It could be said that mindfulness meditation is “being” rather than “doing”.
Please take a few minutes and enjoy this insightful article by my colleague and mentor, Dan Goleman. It is an excellent refresher on the difference between mindfulness and mindfulness meditation.