Meditation is the practice of quieting the body and mind
in such a way that we are able to be “present” in the moment. To do this, we sit and focus our minds on one thing-our breath, a mantra, or the sounds in the room. As we do this, our “monkey” mind will intrude and remind us of the bills we have to pay, the way our performance at work tanked this week, the food that’s going bad in the refrigerator- in other words, anything but the present moment. During meditation, we (patiently, without judging ourselves) bring our attention back to our focus. During a ten-minute meditation, this process may happen a hundred times. Meditation practice means accepting that that process is the actual practice. Even if we feel we are doing it wrong, or it feels weird, or we feel restless, continuing to try to focus our minds during meditation
practice will allow us to bring that focus, that mindfulness, into our daily lives.
We can think of meditation as the practice sessions and mindfulness as the application of the practice. Meditation is the actual sitting and quieting down part of the equation. Mindfulness is remembering, while we pay our bills or clean out the refrigerator, to interrupt our monkey mind and focus on the present moment.
We learn to say, “Oh, there I am, worrying about tomorrow,” or, “Oh, there’s some doom and gloom,” and let it go. We learn to notice what is present. Maybe we are paying bills while our child practices their clarinet and we notice the sounds. Maybe we are cleaning out the fridge, and instead of worrying about the bills, we notice the fresh fruit we forgot about. Being mindful in these moments allows us to experience the moments of our lives more fully.