As opposed to psychotherapy, which often helps clients reformulate a consistent self (a conceptual, rational-cognitive self) that has gone somewhat astray, mindfulness/ meditation helps people return to their experiential self. The experiential self connects directly to the experience of what’s going on in the perceptual moment.
Many find mindfulness/ meditation practice difficult because they are used to conceptualizing (thinking) the world around them. This process is the realm of the rational-cognitive self. It’s the one that’s troubled and unhappy because no matter how it tries to conceptualize the world it just cannot be accurately done. It’s this error that causes problems.
During the process of mindfulness/ meditation, we are asked to return to direct experience when we find we’ve gone into the world of mental concepts and thought. It’s a return, time after time after time after time, to direct experience – the truth of reality. This truthfulness is what relieves our stress, anxiety and other suffering.