Meditation (mindfulness) can be what you want it to be.
Meditation for millennia was a technique that was nonsecular in nature and had a religious intention. The goal was to get closer to God (no matter what that looked like) and to connect with something esoteric. However over the last few years meditation, in the form of mindfulness, has become popular and has become a technique used to enable people to bring nonjudgemental awareness to the present moment.
Mindfulness has become a modern phenomenon both in business and educational sectors. More recently, in clinical a setting through the use of CBT techniques and the mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) programme, meditation has become more and more accessible. MBSR particularly, as popularised by the clinician Jon Kabat Zinn has really enabled the practitioner to access meditation in a secular way. Meditation without spirituality.
Mindfulness as stated above is nonjudgemental awareness of the present moment, and is a technique to bring both mind and body into the present and to what is occurring. Experience in THIS moment. The theory behind the practice is that by bringing your attention to the present moment you reduce thoughts and by proxy stories about what is occurring, giving more than just a sense of reality. It IS what is occurring and NOT what you think is occurring.
This present moment awareness is very powerful and only gives the person using the technique a very stable position from which to explore the thoughts emotions and feelings that are happening around a given subject. In practising mindfulness you are giving yourself a very solid ground from which to stand up to look at what is happening when certain situations arise. Mindfulness enables you to explore the realms of thought and feeling in a way that allows you not to get lost. By establishing a safe harbour for you to come back to. A calm place to rest, you are able to re-establish your energy levels before you embark on your journey again.
Thoughts feelings and emotions, particularly around tough subjects, can be very draining both emotionally and physically and therefore mindfulness allows you a place of calm in choppy waters. The power of nonjudgemental awareness of the present moment can’t be underestimated. It is very subtle in nature, very much like the breath however it is is incredibly resilient. Resilience in the fact that change will take place, unpredictability is real and impermanence will occur. However if you sit in the moment in such a way that you are stable and present you will experience life more fully and in a deeper, more wholesome way.