On a recent call with a client, I was asked, what is the difference between mediation and meditation. As a mediator, and someone who has been training in the field for over a decade, mediation is so clearly defined for me that I often gloss over how easily these two are confused. Looking through the difference and similarities, as I will go into more detail below, I could not help but find some elements that were similar, as well as very different.
Meditation has made its way into the everyday vernacular of society. This has created a lot of confusion… including within the Google and YouTube algorithms (after this try googling images for mediation and see what comes up). Being that Mediation is often grouped in with many other practices, it is a transformational tool that is much needed, yet often overlooked, undersold and misrepresented.
What is the difference?
Meditation is the practice of reflection and inner contemplation. For some it has a spiritual element, for others it is a way to increase awareness and achieve calm. Mediation, on the other hand, is a facilitated conversation between two or more parties, with the intent of resolving or transforming conflict through conversation through the building of understanding.
Though meditation may help you better prepare for the mediation process, it does not replace it.
As I sat down to think through some of the other differences, it struct me that, oddly, there are many similarities these two practices share. Though some humorous, I want to highlight some of the highlights that stood out to help draw a more distinct line between the two.
(me-di-a-tion) Personal practiceRequires minimum 3 peopleSelf-reflectionSituational and Group ReflectionNo/limited talkingBased in communication with othersFreePaid or Volunteer mediatorDon’t bring your lawyerYou may bring your lawyerSeeking peaceAddress conflictMinimal to no preparationPreparation done with Mediator and aloneUsed by those in the judicial system for selfUsed by the judicial systemPersonal peaceRelationship peacePracticed around the worldPracticed around the worldNo training necessaryCertified professional requiredNo governing bodyMultiple governing agenciesNo insurance required to practiceProfessional insurance needed to practiceCan do in the showerBest done around a tableCan practice anytimeTime coordination required
Though most meditators do not mediate, many mediators do meditate.
In all serious though. As a meditating mediator, meditation is a fantastic tool to help with self-regulation and stress management, among other conditions. As you begin to do the inner work of meditation, you may find that there are conversation you feel are unresolved. They may cause distress, discomfort or are simply tough conversations to have. The uncomfortable emotions and dialogues that surround these potentially conflict laden topics have the ability to heal your soul, if they are addressed with the same care and attention that you give to your meditation practice. Having open, well managed and productive conversation with others is another form of healing that may be necessary along your journey. This is where a trained and certified mediation professional may be exactly what you need to find peace.
Be it within your work, personal life, with family, children, your spouse, boss, staff or your neighbor, inviting someone to have a mediated conversation to resolve a conflict (no matter the size), may make your meditation practice more enjoyable once you take that first step.
If you have an issue that you are ready to resolve, please reach out. Find the better life that is waiting for you on the other side of your conversation.