Meditation comes with side benefits–and tons of them! One of them is that you can think ahead. Every smart person can think ahead. But here I am talking about thinking ahead subconsciously, or effortlessly.
Let me take two extreme cases to explain. There is a person say, Peets, who sees someone, say, at a gas station. This person is his enemy, or at least a perceived one. Now Peets gets enraged and full of anger. He wants revenge and he wants it now. Can he think ahead, and maybe 10 minutes ahead? He takes out a firearm and shoots the other person. Does he get satisfaction? Kind of. But what happens after a few hours? He ends up in jail, maybe for life. So he did think ahead. But not enough ahead.
The other extreme is Buddha, the Enlightened One. He thought in terms of dependent origination. How your current act will affect your future. Not just years ahead, but lifetimes ahead.
This is what mindfulness does. Interestingly, mindfulness is as helpful in the mundane world as in the spiritual. One place where I have found it extremely useful is in avoiding traps. Every now and then, you get into situations where if you don’t act very skillfully, you’d get in a trap. Traps are complex, otherwise anyone can avoid them. And complex in a way where one action leads to another, and then another, and so on.
Buddha had a solution he used in cases where there is a philosophical trap. An easy one is when asking someone to describe how the Nirvanic state is. Which is something that cannot be explained with the five senses. Besides this, there are other philosophical traps. Buddha simply refused to get into it, and called some of them “Avyakrits.”