For me they both go hand in hand and they are both connected to each other because they both take you to a place of non-thought, non-thinking…….. non-attachment to past and future and both keep you firmly planted in the NOW.
Mindfulness is being in the present moment only (The NOW), you cannot be being mindful if you are daydreaming, thinking of what your partner is up to, thinking what’s for tea, etc., etc. whilst you are supposed to be paying attention to what you are doing instead.
Painters, musicians, athletes and sportsmen/women experience mindfulness when they are in the “zone”, because when they are in the “zone” they perform at their optimum, simply because they are thinking of nothing else except what it is they are supposed to be doing NOW, and when they are in the “zone” they are giving it 100% attention, nothing else gets a look in. When they are not in the zone – that’s when mistakes are made. So what good is it to be thinking up future irrelevant/nonsense scenarios, when you could be doing something far more useful in the present moment instead (which is the gist of the power of NOW).
Skydivers, racing drivers, rock climbers, experience mindfulness (although they probably wouldn’t call it that) when they are in the middle of their high risk pursuits. When one mistake could be the difference between life and death they have to be EXTREMELY mindful, and cannot afford to be thinking about future irrelevant/nonsense scenarios that DO NOT MATTER that much NOW (IE: what’s for tea!).
Meditation is more of a non-attachment to thoughts, during meditation thoughts will likely arise, you are not supposed to stop them arising, but more allow them to arise and then subside again without allowing them to touch you emotionally. When you do this you SEE that you mind spends a lot of its time thinking up future irrelevant nonsense scenarios and hardly ever in the NOW which is where all the fun actually is and which is where, if you watch them, young children spend all their time. Young children live in the present moment only (the NOW), they don’t worry about the past, the future, being ill, getting old, what’s for tea even!!, they ONLY live in the NOW and have so much fun doing so, it’s us adults that have got it wrong, we have covered over the present moment with concerns and the past and the future and rarely (if ever) spend any time in the present anymore, which is where the party actually is.
So meditation alerts you to the fact that you are not in the present moment much, it shows you that your thoughts are stealing you away from it (snatching your soul) and being Mindful helps you live in the present moment more, allowing you to enjoy what is real NOW, not what you are imagining and hoping and dreaming for in ten years’ time - once you’ve retired, got the house by the beach, that new job, new partner, new body, etc., etc.