Meditation and mindfulness are both tools to help you to access inner peace. Although practicing meditation and mindfulness are essentially working towards the same goals, there are differences too. Mindfulness is generally an awareness of our outer life and meditation is awareness of our inner life. Combining the skills of mindfulness with meditation on a daily basis is the best recipe to eliminate stress and feel more calm throughout your mind and body.
Accessing inner peace
Inside everyone is inner peace. Even if it doesn’t feel like that all the time, it is there, and it’s accessible if you know how to tap-in.
Peace comes from the capacity to live wholly in the present moment. For when we are anxious about the past, or worrying about the future, we are not calm, and we are not focusing on the here and now.
Mindfulness – the outside part
Mindfulness is an informal practice of being aware throughout your daily life. Much of our days are spent on auto-pilot, whether driving, showering or walking to the shop, our minds are usually flicking through everything else but where we are right now.
Society has an obsession with multi-tasking and an addition to being busy, especially in big cities like London. This means that rarely do we focus on one task, and focus on doing it well.
This lack of attention also causes us to not tune-in to our bodies when they need to sleep, eat, hydrate or slow down.
Not only do we miss out on an awful lot when we are not in a mindful state, but also stress seeps in as we continually pre-empt the next phase, action, or when it will be our turn to talk in a conversation.
Living in the moment is to be fully immersed in the present – is to be mindful.
Mindfulness yoga is also a great way to practice awareness. The skills you learn can be applied in your daily life.
Meditation – the inside part
Meditation is a more structured activity compared to mindfulness, which is more a continual thing to build into your daily life.
There are many types of meditation, but they all lead to the same path – seeking to find inner peace and give yourself some time to listen to your true desires, thoughts and beliefs.
When you start to meditate, it is likely you will realise how many thoughts are, under normal circumstances, rushing through your mind, at any one time. The aim of meditation is to slow down this chitter chatter in your mind and make a space to go a little deeper.
Many thoughts we have each day are negative, looking back to the past, or pre-empting the future. Like mindfulness, if we can bring the focus to the present moment, the here and now, we have the power to de-stress, calm, heal and also understand what it is we want from life. Meditation can help with making decisions, visualisation and productivity as well as getting a better night’s sleep, being more receptacle to loving and being loved and living a more vibrant life.
Often whilst meditating it is hard to clear your mind at first. This is because we are now so accustomed to letting our minds take over with no control. The Buddhists liken this to chattering monkeys jumping from branch to branch with no care where they are going. Our thoughts can be the same.
Dedicating even as little as ten minutes a day to meditation can still your thoughts, let go of things that are not serving you, fight off stress symptoms and leave you feeling refreshed. After you master the basics, the time period can be extended to enjoy longer durations in a mediative state of mind.