M is for…


If you look it up the etymology seems pretty straight forward. It is thought that the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root is “med” which also gives us words like measure (e.g. measured thought). Hence words like the ancient Greek medesthai “to think about”, the Latin modus “measure” but also mederi “to heal’ and medicus “physician”.

Not only do most religions have related practices of their own but the scholars tell us that so did philosophical schools (like the Stoics).

Sticking with mindfulness you will find that most people familiar with the definitions or related practices are in fact talking about a particular variant of Vipassanā meditation with an emphasis on “bare attention” directed towards breathing, thoughts, feelings or actions”. This approach (rooted in ancient practices but developed in the 1950s) is very different from the understanding of Vipassanā-meditation (insight meditation, mindfulness) in, for example, the Tibetan tradition. Each of those traditions also teaches other exercises (meditations) very different from what’s known as mindfulness.