Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Is It Mindfulness or Meditation?

I get asked that question a lot, and the answer is, yes, and . . .

Yes, mindfulness is a form of meditation practice. Other names for such meditation are insight and Vipassana. Mindfulness was popularized thirty years ago by Jon Kabat-Zinn with his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. The genius of Jon Kabat-Zinn has been to make this ancient form of meditation accessible to the mainstream. Mindfulness meditation is now taught in a wide range of settings including hospitals, clinics, schools, prisons, businesses, and other venues all other the U.S. and the rest of the world. It is the form of meditation that has been the subject of much attention from neuroscience research. It is the practice I teach in my Mindfulness-Based Dementia Care and other mindfulness-based programs for caregivers. Mindfulness as commonly taught these days, draws its roots from the most ancient tradition of Buddhism know as Theravada. It has been stripped of all its religious context, and only the methods for de-stressing the brain have been kept, thereby making it accessible to all, independent of their religious orientation. It is important to stress that contemporary mindfulness practice is completely agnostic. 

Other forms of meditation include zen, Tibetan, transcendental meditation (TM), Christian centering prayer, Sufism, and yoga meditation. 


  1. Every additional day that we live on on this planet is in itself a privilege, when I was once upon a time an undergrad reading books from Theravada till zen lineages, the prophecy was about how I lacked mindfulness and meditation was the process that can bring about mindfulness as an outcome, everybody learns within their own abilities, of course as we age we forget learnings too. I used to sit very regularly and in fact I'm thankful about this blog because a year or two ago when I totally lacked faith and vigour I recall out of seemingly nowhere I saw on Twitter an invitation to sit, I sat a couple of minutes and after awhile later I got lazy again. Like today I saw this post again, I adjourned into my prayer room and prostrated in front of Avalokitesvara, as one ages the initial vīriya that got me started in any form of mindfulness or meditation practice becomes a daily struggle as sloth and turpor creeps in.. hindrances that are very subtle and difficult in observing; when I am mindful and I meditate whether with eyes closed or just sitting in front of an LCD panel wording yet another blog greeting, when my tranquility is subtler than subtle I notice how I lost all mindful awareness and / or meditative wisdom when laziness had crept in earlier on.

    I do alot of caffeine i.e. coffee these days, simulating the cognitive behaviour that would otherwise come directly from good jhanas of proper sitting sessions. Days ago when I met a Chinese physician she asked if I had coffee, I told her I have a habit of drinking coffee these days, yet that morning I forgot about drinking a cup.

    When I drink too much coffee it raises other health concerns too.

    <3 Are you taking good care of yourself today? I love because I love.

  2. I really enjoyed this. Thanks!