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As the Buddhist meditation practice has morphed into a billion-dollar industry, it’s become the go-to solution for everything from depression to weight gain.
But while mindfulness is very effective for some, it does absolutely nothing for others, and pushing it on them won’t change that.
What has remained consistent is the use of meditation in pursuit of greater self-awareness, coupled with a rejection of the egocentric mode of existence.
The lack of empirical studies on how mindfulness is practiced may lead consumers to be harmed, mislead, or disappointed in the lack of results.
For example, the idea that you should just reject your whole core and all your impulses, may be seen as a formula for depression and anxiety.
There are a lot of other activities that offer the same temporary escape, without attempting to establish a more permanent detachment from the ego.
Exercising, listening to music, playing sports, practicing art, or engaging in any activity that helps temporarily shut out the rest of the world can provide the same sense of relief from stress.
Meditating can provide a healthy escape, as long as it is focussed on enabling your ability to solve problems, not your ability to ignore them.
Mindfulness is good for learning the skill of putting on the brakes for a thought loop and noticing the thought loops you get into a lot - very valuable, but that’s only the first step. The next step is, ‘how do I have a different thought? '
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Breathwork is not the same as mindfulness. Mindfulness involves passive observation of the breath, whereas breathwork requires you to actively change the way you breathe.
Breathwork includes ensuring you breath with your diaphragm, rather than the movement of your chest. It will fill your lungs with more air while also slowing the pace of your breathing.
Right breathing can have a profound effect on calming the mind quickly and can act as a speed ramp into the meditation practice by getting you to that place of no-thought.