Meditation and mindfulness are taking the western world by storm. There are now so many variations of both disciplines that even when these terms are used, we are not necessarily talking about the same things.
In essence, mindfulness is about the practice of being present in the moment. It is the art of being aware to such an extent that you notice and appreciate what is taking place right now. It’s about focus, appreciation and acceptance… and learning to flow with life. Its origins go back to the time of Buddha and Lao Tzu.
Meditation, on the other hand, depending on which tradition you adhere to, is focused on emptying the mind… freeing oneself from the perpetual stream of consciousness. But is it really possible to empty the mind?
At Reach, we define meditation as going beyond the limitations of the material world (which includes the body) and experiencing the metaphysical reality (beyond logic and the senses). It’s not about emptying the mind – that would be like trying to stop the river from flowing. To the contrary it is a state of pure experience (absorption), where one is full of peace, clarity and joy. Meditation is learning how to empty the mind of negative and waste thoughts in order that we can experience our most beautiful, uncontaminated self.
One of the primary ways to gain access to the experience of mindfulness and or meditation is breathing. The ancient yogis were the original masters of the art of breathing. They referred to it as pranayama – which leads to a state of calm and poise, where one is not victim to one’s emotions. They learnt and understood through experience that conscious breathing is a primary gateway to much higher states of consciousness.
In this video Max Strom, who has become a leading authority on the role and power of breathing, offers a useful introduction to this topic. He is well-known for the development of his Inner Axis method and teaches mindfulness, yoga and personal transformation around the globe.
The Inner Axis Method: