The intention of Basic Meditation is to trick the mind into releasing itself, trick the mind into giving the thinking apparatus a rest, so that we can realise our Higher Selves, our essential oneness with whatever we consider to be divine. On the other hand, the intention of Mindfulness Meditation is secular; namely, to train the mind, in the same way that we would lift weights to strengthen a muscle, to be able to concentrate — and avoid weakly wandering around on autopilot — for longer and longer periods of time.As opposed to “zoning out,” Mindfulness Meditation is like “zoning in” on whatever phenomenon or phenomena we choose to zone in on.
We consciously focus our attention upon designated and specific thoughts or sensations that arise in our field of awareness and observe them non-judgmentally – maybe even label them. Thus, there are countless types of Mindfulness Meditations because we can choose to focus our attention on seemingly infinite phenomena.Mindfulness is gaining a growing popularity as a practice in daily life, apart from buddhist insight meditation and its application in clinical psychology. n this context mindfulness is defined as moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, characterised mainly by “acceptance” – attention to thoughts and feelings without judging whether they are right or wrong.
Mindfulness focuses the human brain on what is being sensed at each moment, instead of on its normal rumination on the past or on the future.Mindfulness fosters compassion and altruism: Research suggests mindfulness training makes us more likely to help someone in need and increases activity in neural networks involved in understanding the suffering of others and regulating emotions. Evidence suggests it might boost self-compassion as well.Constant stimulation offered by mobile devices — the average person checks their phone every six-and-a-half minutes — keeps us permanently alert, affecting our ability to concentrate, form memories and relax. If anxiety is the modern malaise, perhaps mindfulness is the cure.
Michael Forrester is a spiritual counselor and is a practicing motivational speaker for corporations in Japan, Canada and the United States.