The terms “meditation” and “mindfulness” are mentioned almost interchangeably, similarly relating to health benefits, yoga and finding inner peace in your busy life. Both represent the idea of calming your frenzied mind.
The differences between mindfulness and meditation have been debated and interpreted in thousands of ways, and the debate likely will continue. They’re two sides of the same coin — they complement each other, and they very often overlap. At the same time, each has its own specific definition and purpose.
Much like yoga, the history of meditation and mindfulness is ancient and spiritual, originating in religion. Meditation predates even ancient times, having its origins in prehistoric religions that involved rhythmic chants, or mantras. But the earliest records of meditation can be found in the Vedas, the oldest texts of Hinduism, dating from 1700-1100 BCE. Later on, different forms of meditation began developing in Buddhism and Taoism, mainly in India and China.
Ancient meditation focused on spiritual growth and transcending emotions to live in a calm present state. After being introduced to the West in the 20th century, meditation was realigned to match the goals of a modern, secular society — and it was soon used as a way to reduce stress and improve healthy living, similar to the Western world’s version of yoga.
The Main Differences
Though it’s often a fine line, here’s the main difference between the two: Meditation is a large umbrella term that encompasses the practice of reaching ultimate consciousness and concentration, to acknowledge the mind and, in a way, self-regulate it. It can involve a lot of techniques or practices to reach this heightened level of consciousness — including compassion, love, patience, and of course, mindfulness. So, mindfulness is a type of meditation, alongside tantra, yoga, sexuality, silence, breathing, and emptiness.
Mindfulness is the act of focusing on being in the present, such as focusing completely on drinking a hot cup of tea, taking in its scent, warmth, and taste and removing overpowering emotions from the mind.
The practice of meditation predates the idea of mindfulness, Rinzler explains. Mindfulness is often aligned with the “time of the Buddha,” in which the Buddha discovered that focusing entirely on his breath would allow him to see reality and reach meditation more quickly.
One can not have one without the other. It’s important to meditate daily, focusing on your breathing, stretching and mentally being in a calm state. But also, being mindful by acknowledging your present self and appreciate your current environment and embracing all current opportunities. This will help to also reduce stress and help you understand that where you are currently is where you’re supposed to be.
-Referenced from Medicaldaily.com