Both terms meditation and mindfulness are becoming popular in holistic wellness and mental health fields these days. Hospitals, corporations, athletic sports clubs, and even schools are taking an extra step to include meditation or mindfulness as a part of their mandatory training or service programs. Whether they employ doctors, engineers, scientists, social workers, or athletes, major corporations now recognize the importance of mental health for the growth and productivity of their employees and their organization.
In hospitals, Medical Meditation supports the patients by releasing stress and tension, reducing sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system response and activating the parasympathetic (rest and repair) nervous system. It is not only the patients, but also the doctors, nurses, and medical staff that benefit from these daily concentration techniques and stress management practices.
Over the past decade schools around the world, from elementary schools to universities, are improving the quality of their education systems by using mindfulness methods for students, parents, teachers, counselors, and other staff members. Even athletic sports clubs and major performance schools are educating their students about the methods and psychology of concentration, seeking to holistically improve the performance of their athletes and performers.
It seems that everyone has at least heard about meditation and mindfulness methods and most folks have even explored and experienced some of the benefits of these techniques personally. However, not many people can differentiate the practice of meditation from mindfulness. This confusion can create uncertainty and discourage the practitioner, as each method has different purposes and can lead to different results. Although a comprehensive explanation of the differences between these two methods deserves a much longer article (or even a whole book), the following brief description can help guide you toward selecting a practice:
Meditation is an ancient mental practice to expand the mind through withdrawal of the senses (or often a guided visualization technique) to attain a higher state of awareness (i.e., consciousness) with the purpose of self-understanding, healing, growth, transformation, and evolution (i.e., enlightenment). Well-recognized meditation modalities include Mantra, Zazen, Tantra, Kundalini, Pranayama, Taoist, and many more.
Meditation is an appropriate practice for: