“Meditation refers to a family of self regulatory practises that focus on training, attention and awareness in order to bring mental processes under greater voluntary control and thereby foster general mental well-being and the development of specific capacities such as Calm, Clarity and Concentration."
Meditation - Classic & Contemporary Perceptions Walsh & Shapiro 2006
Also in 2006, Cahn & Polich* agreed the regulation of attention is the central commonality in all Meditation. *Meditation States and Traits
Whilst back in 1988, Daniel Goleman, bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence, wrote "the need for the meditator to retain his or her attention is the single invariant ingredient in every meditation system".
And it is the same for mindfulness - just more so and without the history.
The universal concern for mindfulness, is that it is being sold as bringing along with it all of the well documented benefits of meditation, which only come to long term meditators and not to someone just going on a short course in mindfulness.
Its good news on the one hand that many more people in general are being introduced to practices of this nature in business, media, education. academia and scientific and medical research.
And there is a load of emerging concern about the McDonaldization of Mindfulness.
But you can’t have a 10 week course in mindfulness with one session a week, to help reduce depression or to cope with the effects of other mental illnesses stress and lifestyle issues. Whilst the benefits are obviously able to be observed during the experience of the different protocol being implemented, it requires a much more rigid protocol to be implemented for there to be any measurable, long term effects on the mind and behaviour.
And that means time and discipline - two things most people don’t have much of.
Along with attention, of course.