In the previous posts we have talked about what mindfulness really is. Along the way we also talked about meditation. You may wonder about the relationship between mindfulness and meditation.
Let’s recap a bit what mindfulness is. Mindfulness is non-judgmental awareness that arises out of paying attention in a particular way in the present moment. Although awareness comes to us naturally, it tends to carry judgments along with it. It is the non-judgmental awareness which is hard to cultivate.
In theory, it may be possible to develop this non-judgmental attitude with repeated practice and conscious recollection. But the cognitive approach is extremely unlikely to be successful. Because the judgmental nature of our mind is by no means a random accident. The judgmental nature of mind has been shaped by the evolution over the millions of years. It is deeply rooted and can be intractable if we limit ourselves to the default ways our mind.
It is for this purpose, we need meditation. We meditate to develop mindfulness. Meditation is the systematic training of the mind to first develop focused attention. Once we have sharpened attention enough, we move on to the task of maintaining the awareness using the sharpened attention to the longest possible time period. This is the essential training for developing mindfulness.
Although you may have heard the term ‘mindfulness meditation’, it is best to view mindfulness as a way of being. It really is a learnable skill. But the context is very broad, essentially covering pretty much all aspects of our lives.
A disciplined regular meditation practice is a must for anyone interested in cultivating non-judgmental mindfulness.