What is the difference between Mindfulness and Meditation?

There is often confusion about the difference between mindfulness and meditation, and these words are frequently used interchangeably. Mindfulness is defined as the practice of paying attention to whatever is unfolding in the here and now with compassionate awareness and without judgment. Mindfulness can be practiced formally during meditation, but also informally in everyday life simply by bringing awareness to one’s experience with all of the senses engaged as fully as possible. Both mindfulness and meditation are paths to a healthier mind.

What Mindfulness Is and What It’s Not

Sometimes it is easier to explain mindfulness by explaining what it is not. Mindfulness is not a relaxation technique. When practicing mindfulness, relaxation sometimes follows, but not always. The practice is not in relaxing, but in becoming aware and familiar with whatever feelings are currently being experienced. Mindfulness is not a religious practice in any way. While Buddhism has influenced it, there is no religious aspect to practicing mindfulness. It is simply a way of paying attention to one’s experience.

Mindfulness is not a way to empty one’s mind. We accept that the mind will always generate thoughts. We acknowledge them and choose where to place our attention.

Mindfulness is not a technique; it is a way of living. It is not something that can be learned through reading or instruction alone.

How do I develop a mindfulness practice? Why bother?

No one can or should force anyone else to learn meditation. It is an act of radical self-care. Only you can decide whether this path is for you.

Try to practice formal meditation at the same time each day and in the same location. If you pair your practice with another daily activity, your brain will begin to make the connection automatically, like showering or brushing your teeth.

Build the length of time that you practice gradually. Start for a few minutes daily if that feels right for you, and build from there. Neuroscientists tell us that practicing for about 15 minutes twice each day will decrease our emotional reactivity in about eight weeks.

If you miss a day, just resume the next day. You may feel relaxed after a practice session, or you may not, but all practice counts. Meditation should never become a chore to be checked off your daily “To-Do” list. Instead, it is a lifestyle to be cultivated over time.

Mind the critic! Your inner critic is likely to make all sorts of negative and discouraging comments. It lies. Acknowledge the commentary and move on.

What is the difference between formal and informal meditation practice?

Formal practice involves intentionally setting aside a period of time each day to engage in a specific skill or meditation.  Informal practice is paying attention with full awareness while engaging in everyday activities (e.g., walking, taking a shower, washing dishes). Unlike a formal meditation, this can be practiced at any time or anywhere.

Are Koru classes covered by insurance?

Koru is an educational course; therefore, not eligible for insurance reimbursement.