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Beginner’s Mind Thoughts on Mindfulness vs Meditation

Mindfulness and Meditation have Subtle and Nuanced Differences


Strictly from my own personal perspective, I’d like to talk through how I experience the similarities, overlaps, and distinctions of Mindfulness versus Meditation.

Right up front, I have no badge of honor to share about how long I have been a devotee to either state. In truth, I struggle with discipline and I am now unpacking how I arrived to a place where I made my life a discipline-free zone, in a few very specific ways.

Mindfulness is a state in which I cultivate presence, awareness, and focus on inhabiting the now. Where I try to set aside automatic responses, habits, and self-numbing thoughts in order to actively consume what is happening in the world around me.

As a Highly Sensitive Person, this comes to me relatively easy. I have a constant, fluid awareness of the information flowing in from my sensory organs. Where my natural tendency can, and has, turned into a liability, is when some intense sensory input or another, becomes a trigger for upset and scared mind-states. Depending on which sense and what trigger, I can lose a wide range of time to outrage and dis-ease.

Mindfulness has allowed me to become truly, painfully aware of one of my numbing patterns, which I can only label as think-feel. I rarely just feel. I find it hard to allow myself to be in the full catastrophe of hurt, anger, shame. I immediately stop feeling and start thinking about my feelings. Most often, this results in a very quick devil’s advocate thought that talks me out of my feeling, as I see the other side of the argument. Why someone acted so viciously or hurtfully.

Preempting my feelings in this way, was a very socially proper thing to do.

But feelings not felt, lodge in our subconscious and in our bodies and they’ve run my life for decades.

Mindfulness has brought me awareness, and the ability to catch myself before executing a default pattern. But at this stage of my journey, not unlimited peace.

For peace, I turn to meditation. This is when I set a clear intention to quiet my mind, without any attachment to the inevitable random thoughts. I am investing the time to learn to let go of thought, to attain a few transcendent moments of mindLESSness.

It is hard to get there, but once you’ve arrived, you will feel the truth of your power, beneath the curtains of words that hide our raw potential.

I’ve been a non-disciplined meditator my whole life, long before I had any words to describe the states of contentment I often cultivated. I live a life of the mind and because I turned inward very early in life, I do not have a lot of negative self-talk. I can sit with myself for hours. It comes naturally. And in those segments of my life where I practice being my own best company, I have found bliss in the silence.

A wordless ease.

While there is always overlap and I don’t believe in rigid, dogmatic adherence to definitions:

I practice mindfulness to learn to be present in my life and I practice meditation to step out of the bounds of my life and experience the wonderful awe of being alive and in possession of the miraculousness of consciousness.

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I am thrilled to be able to effectively focus my attention on my new role as Director of Strategic Partnerships in conjunction with Shawn Quinlivan of Cathexis Therapeutic Imagery.

Shawn has created a series of twenty-three 15-minute Mastering Mindfulness® meditations that form a bridge between understanding the benefits of mindfulness and making it across the frustrating challenge of learning to use our minds in new and challenging ways. Learning how to practice mindfulness will allow us to gain control of our ability to dwell in productive mental processing.

I am eager to talk with cutting-edge leaders in the HR, Benefits, and Learning and Development areas about providing access to our mindfulness e-learning portal via your Corporate Intranet Wellness options. I look forward to connecting with you soon!

Originally published at www.insightsoccur.com

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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