FAQ – Is there a difference between meditation and mindfulness?

Yup. That’s why we didn’t call ourselves a meditation bar.

Here’s how we break it down: meditation is diving deep within yourself, contacting the most subtle levels of your being. Mindfulness is your ability to use the clear awareness of your being, continue to develop it, and learn to cultivate it throughout your waking life.
Still need more? We hear you. Let’s dive a little deeper.

Meditation is the state that you achieve when you’re sitting on your yoga mat, cushion—or whatever you rest your rear on when you’re meditating—that allows you to live mindfully off of your mat. Basically, meditation is the foundation for mindfulness. It’s how you train and retrain your brain to create more thoughts and make more decisions rooted in lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.

Here’s how it works: when you physically carve out time to sit in stillness and silence, the meditation process allows you to be more aware of what you’re thinking. You’ve exited the “go-go-go” pace of your day, and are starting to actually connect with everything that’s been racing through your brain. Meditation invites you to be aware of your thoughts, which helps you slow your thoughts—and by slowing your thoughts, you’re able to experience the gap between your thoughts. (You didn’t even know there WAS a gap between your thoughts, did you?) This creates a snowball effect—but, you know, the good kind. The more you meditate, the more awareness you bring to your individual thoughts, and the more awareness you bring to your thoughts, the slower those thoughts become; and the slower your thoughts become, the longer the pauses between your thoughts become—and it’s in that pause between your thoughts where things like self-awareness and freedom of choice exist! As we like to say at Mindfulness Bar: “the power is in the pause.”

The pause between your thoughts is where the space for behavior change lies. By meditating, you disconnect from the autopilot that most of us operate on, all day long. You start to become aware of the daily habits and behavior patterns that you’re usually not even conscious of—and you start to notice what triggers those patterns. (Aka: you’re suddenly able to draw the connection between your full inbox and that bottle of wine you drink every evening.)

BUT, while meditation is the foundation for mindfulness, there are also lots of other ways you can be mindful. (Some of us find mindfulness in Nordstrom’s shoe department—simply being aware of all the beautiful shoes to chose from and that’s okay!) At Mindfulness Bar, we offer plenty of paths to mindfulness, from traditional meditation practices to walking meditations, yoga, T’ai chi, narrative coaching and more.