Mindfulness v meditation. Do you need to meditate to be mindful? | Mindful Moments: Ep 06

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RICHARD CHAMBERS: Hi
this is Richard and Craig from Mindful Monash with another
‘Mindful moment’ for you. This week’s ‘Mindful
moment’ is about the distinction between
mindfulness and meditation because that’s
a question that comes up a lot: “is mindfulness the same
as meditation?” If not how do they relate
to each other. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah.
And I think part of the confusion is because
those words are almost used interchangeably. And mindfulness is certainly
a form of meditation and there are variations
of mindfulness meditation practises — RICHARD CHAMBERS: And lots
of different types of meditation. CRAIG HASSED: That’s right. And mindfulness in a broader
sense means to be mindful for the other 23
hours and however many minutes in the rest of the day.
So to live mindfully, to live with that awareness,
that sense of presence, that sense of engagement
that we cultivate when sitting in a chair. RICHARD CHAMBERS: So presence,
being in the moment, paying attention and having
a sense of engagement with what we’re doing. That’s that’s how
we define mindfulness. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah.
And when you — when you look at all
of the interventions on mindfulness you get one end
of the spectrum which is virtually no meditation
practise at all, right up to the other end
of the spectrum which is much more intensive meditation. So the question is like “do
we have to practise meditation?” A lot of people listening
probably think, “can I avoid it in some way?
It takes effort.” Or how much practise is optimal. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yes.
And there is a bit of a debate actually happening
in the literature some people take a strong view either way.
I personally like meditation. I think it’s in some ways the
foundation of living mindfully. You know meditation — so you’ve got mindfulness being
paying attention, being in the present moment
with those attitudes of openness and acceptance. Then you’ve got meditation
which is formally, you know, often sitting down
and cultivating that. So we take a period of time
maybe five, ten minutes, usually we’ll sit down and we’ll
focus the attention on the senses, so the body
or the breath, notice when it wanders off, bring it back over and over
again and we train ourselves to notice when the minds
wander and come back without judgment
and ultimately to be more present in each moment.
So that’s what meditate — that’s what mindfulness
meditation is. That’s the formal training. Then as you said we’ve
got the rest of our lives, so once we get up
out of the chair, how are we living that? And are we just then going back
into automatic pilot and being off in default mode and reacting
to everything all day or do we try to bring
some of that same attitude into our
day to day life? And that’s what living
mindfully would be, to bring that attitude. CRAIG HASSED: And not
everybody’s going to be up for 30 or 40 minutes
of meditation practise in a day. But even shorter amounts can be
very helpful. But also in terms of cultivating
the meditation I think it does help us to be
mindful and the rest of the day. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Definitely. CRAIG HASSED: To use a metaphor, we could get fit by taking
the stairs at work, by doing a bit of digging
in the garden — RICHARD CHAMBERS: Walk
to the station etcetera. CRAIG HASSED: Yeah incidental
sort of exercise, but spending that half hour
of going for a run or going to the gym increases
fitness a lot more. And so — RICHARD CHAMBERS: It makes
it easier to do those other things. CRAIG HASSED: That’s right. And so in a way
the formal practise, taking some time just
to practice being mindful sitting in a chair, I think there’s a great
argument as to that being very helpful, but we have to find our
own level of motivation our own prepraredness
and cultivate mindfulness in ways that are meaningful
to us. RICHARD CHAMBERS: Yeah.
And a lot of people start with the informal practices, by washing the dishes
mindfully or being in the garden or doing
things mindfully and then eventually
start to meditate. I want to make a massive plug
for meditation here because one of the things
that happens when we meditate that might
not happen if we’re rock climbing or gardening
or washing the dishes mindfully is that we can start
looking inside and really noticing how the mind works. CRAIG HASSED: It’s more
revealing really. RICHARD CHAMBERS: It’s very
revealing and we can really start to see the source code
or basically how the mind is operating and that’s
a very useful thing to see that the mind wanders, that we get caught up in a lot
of negative thinking that that then triggers
the fight and flight response in the body,
that we react to things, that we’re judging
things all the time. This becomes much more obvious
when we’re meditating. So it’s a very useful thing
to do on a regular basis. CRAIG HASSED: And perhaps one
last point as well is that those mini meditations, the little
half minute here, the minute there, that we
punctuate our day with, can be tremendously helpful
as well not just the longer sitting practises, but those little moments
of pausing before we head off to a meeting, before
we walk inside the house, they can be
tremendously helpful. And so there are many
different ways, an infinite number
of cultivating mindfulness in our lives. RICHARD CHAMBERS: So however
you engage with it, start practising some
mindfulness whether it’s through meditation
or just doing things mindfully and notice
the difference that it has not just for you, but also the people around
you as that attitude of being present and open
and accepting starts to ripple out into the world.

 

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