"Metacognition" has more letters than either "mindfulness" or "meditation"-- it also has more syllables. As well as a lot more scientific research to back it up*. And all three words begin with the letter "M", which got my lawyer (and puzzler) mind really humming. Could there be a connection? Does an understanding of one shed any light on the others? The answer (not surprisingly) is, yes!
Science has taught me a good deal about metacognition. Experience has taught me a lot about mindfulness and meditation. They all look at the same thing (the mind) from different angles, and together they provide a kind of 3-D picture of our minds that I find fascinating. More importantly, they provide a picture that can help us better understand-- and better manage-- our thoughts and emotions. Which is something by which anyone (especially lawyers) can benefit.
How we think (a significant component of metacognition), is every bit as important as what we think (observed dispassionately in meditation), as well as whether we think at all (which is a big part of mindfulness). Think about it (pun intended). Why should we care? I commend to your attention a piece posted recently by the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism on its 2Civility website, titled: "Metacognition: Thinking About How You Think Impacts Performance". That's why.
Metacognition, mindfulness, meditation--they're all things about which we (especially us lawyers), should be much better informed. Sadly, that is not the case, for the vast majority. Much of what we think we know about any of the "three M's" is based on flimsy supposition, misinformation and second-hand speculation that is wildly prejudiced -- what certain politicians refer to as, "fake news".
So, riddle me this. Do science and personal experience bear any relevance the other? "Real news" people would like to know!
* For a thorough reference to scientific studies published in connection with the topic of metacognition, please see the bibliography in the wonderfully thoughtful book entitled, Think! by Anoara Mughal.