Meditation and Mindfulness are not the same thing, at least in Therapy
When we want to meditate mindfully but find thoughts keep on popping into the mind, even though we do not want them, even though we have said to our minds, “quiet now, I’m going to focus on my breath,” when thoughts just keep on coming back again and again….. that is not the problem it seems to be.
While you would think that thoughts are wrecking your mindfulness meditation, really they are not. What is important is the intention to be mindful. Some background on the difference between meditation and mindfulness. In meditation the intention is to practice concentration, meaning to learn to focus just on the breath. In meditation there is a wish for the thoughts to go away. With mindfulness, in contrast, the intention is to be aware of all experience as it is, so thoughts are not a problem. They are just interesting. We note them. And we return to the breath.
So you would think mindfulness mediation is easier, because you just think about noticing the breath, but whatever happens is ok. Well…. I wish it were that simple. The problem that many people encounter is their own judging mind, the mind that says, “you should not be having these thoughts right now,” or the mind that says, “you’re just no good, whatever you try doesn’t work.” These thoughts come up often for people around here. There are so many things that make it hard to maintain positive self-regard. So we also practiced a sort of self-acceptance meditation, sometimes called Sending Kind Thoughts, sometimes called Metta, or Loving Kindness meditation.
Come to the next talk even if you missed the first. No previous experience required. I just thought you might like to know a little bit about what we covered. If you want to read more on mindfulness, there are articles within this Blog.