You see articles about about mindfulness or meditation every week. When I began meditating over 10 years ago, it was rather a ‘closet’ activity that one probably only mentioned to close and trusted friends. Now, one may even call it a trend.
If you haven’t tried learning mindfulness or meditation yet, it’s likely that your curiosity has it least crossed your mind. Maybe you already know you ‘should’ try it, because you’re so stressed out. Maybe you’ve decided it’s not for you, but someone you know sure needs it.
But it is all hype? Is this a passing trend? Is it a religious activity? Does it mean that you’re doing a Buddhist practice? What’s the difference between meditation and mindfulness?
It can be confusing. You can feel like you might be missing out on something that everyone else seems to ‘get’.
Here is a perspective about this:
- Know that there is a vast potential of benefits to practicing meditation and mindfulness.
- Don’t feel pressured into learning it, but if you are curious, give yourself the opportunity to explore it.
- Everyone needs to come to this practice when the time is right for them, if ever.
- Various meditation and mindfulness practices may certainly have their roots in some ancient traditions or religions, but make it your own and you don’t have to consider it a conflict with your belief system.
- What you don’t know, you don’t know. Don’t judge the practice unless you’ve really given it a good try.
- ‘Trying it’ doesn’t mean going to a class or two, it means learning to do it correctly from skilled instruction, and making it part of your lifestyle. Then, if you still feel it’s not for you, you’ve made an informed choice. Some people need to cultivate the practice in order to get the benefits, although some people feel immediate benefits after one or two sittings.
So is it a passing trend? I personally don’t think so. I think people are seeking ways to cope with the stress of life, and find some joy and peace. Because there is a great deal of research on its benefits these days, the evidence has shone a spotlight on it. I think the media is raising awareness, and the media coverage will start to decrease over time but the practice will still remain.
If and when you are ready to learn it, there are many good books and websites available. However, the best way to learn is from a skilled instructor in a group environment. Learning on your own is difficult and often does not result in a successful adoption of the practice.
Meditation and mindfulness is a very personal practice, and know that your experience will be unique. Enjoy your journey!