As I sat with 12 United States Soldiers after meditation, we discussed the diffe...

As I sat with 12 United States Soldiers after meditation, we discussed the difference between meditation and mindfulness. One young soldier asked how meditation will help him when he takes his family to Sea World this weekend. He shared that he would often be frustrated by many people he encounters, thus responding negatively towards his children. I added he is not the only one who would experience this situation!

I simply shared that meditation is concentration and mindfulness is awareness. In silent meditation we use the breath as a focus and become mindful of all our thoughts. When he goes to Sea World, his focus will be his children, while his mindfulness will be his awareness of emotions triggered by all the people he encounters. If he stays focused on his children, he can let anyone who frustrates him float on by as we practice doing with our thoughts in silent meditation. If he replaces the breath as his focus with his children and replaces the random thoughts that arise with all the people, he can go through the day with peace of mind. The end result is he is more present with his family and less concerned with others. This is meditation having an impact on us in the real world.

On behalf of The Mediation Initiative, Jeffrey Zlotnik leads meditation at The Point Loma Naval Base as part of a residential treatment program for soldiers returning from combat who are diagnosed with PTSD and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).


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