The Difference Between Mindfulness and Concentration

Mindfulness is the way of living and being in the world — paying attention in the present moment.

When you concentrate, your attention focuses on a particular thing.

This is why mindfulness and concentration go hand-in-hand.

Mindfulness meditation is a form of meditation practice that helps to develop more mindfulness in your day-to-day life by becoming aware of the habitual patterns in your mind, and what’s causing you to react in certain ways to thoughts, sensations or feelings.

Think about concentration like a zoom lens, focusing on a single point, whereas mindfulness is like a wide angle lens, allowing and observing all that is occurring — a state of open awareness.

Concentration is an important factor in mindful meditation practice.

You may have noticed your mind being very jumpy at the start of the meditation practice.

Meditators refer to it as “monkey mind”. It races from thought… to itch… to “Oh, I remember, I was supposed to do that”… to planning… to replaying arguments, conflicts, and things that have happened in the past.

So the mind is racing and concentration helps you to be aware of what’s happening.

In the early stages of mindfulness meditation practice, your power of attention and concentration develops.

With more practice, you’ll be able to…

  • observe the different thoughts and sensations as they arise.
  • rest more in a state of awareness.
  • use tools, like coming back to the breath, or the sounds, and the sensation of your feet.

When you find your mind drifting away, it anchors you in the present moment.

Each time your attention is brought back to the present moment is an opportunity for mindfulness.

Cultivate this ability over time with mindfulness meditation practice, and you’ll be more aware of the habitual patterns in your day-to-day life and have the freedom to not react, but choose how you will respond in different situations.

Have more questions? Feel free to post them in the comments below, or share your experience during your meditation practice!

Until then, stay healthy and happy.

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Shirley Archer -Eichenberger : The Wellness Sensei

Writes about integrative health, embodied mindfulness and the interrelatedness of life. Follow her on Instagram @shirleyarcher