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Medieval monks had a hard time concentrating while they were supposed to focus on divine communication: to read, to pray and sing, and to work to understand God.
The ideal was a mind that was always and actively reaching out to its target by working hard at making the mind behave. The monks found it easier to concentrate when their bodies were moving, whether they were baking or farming.
Nuns, monks, preachers and the people they educated were to visualize the material they were processing. A branchy tree or a finely feathered angel. The images might loosely correspond to the substance of an idea.
The point was to give the mind something to draw, to indulge its appetite for interesting forms while sorting its ideas into some logical structure.
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True mindfulness has been spoiled by an imposter. The imitation provides an excuse to be self-centered and self-indulgent. It promises health and spiritual purity.
Mindfulness is the nonjudgemental awareness of the richness, subtlety and variety of the present moment, not just of the self. It is not the same as meditation, although meditation can form part of it.
Mindfulness acknowledges every moment of existence, good and bad. It is used to stand still in the moment, reflect and gain perspective.
Gazing inward to focus on a connection with yourself cannot deliver magical benefits. Acknowledging your thoughts is not the same as cherishing them.
While mindfulness has some usefulness, we should also realize the benefits when we lose self-awareness, for example when we are in a state of flow.
The inventor of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction proclaims that mindfulness may "be the only promise the species and the planet have for making it through the next couple of hundred years...
Although mindfulness originated from Buddhism, it has been stripped from most of its teachings.
What remains is nothing more than a self-help tool to help one get used to the very conditions that caused the problems. While is it a noble aim to reduce stress and anxiety, it is more important to acknowledge and address the underlying cause of the suffering.
The message of the mindfulness movement is that the underlying cause is in our mind - a "thinking disease" or a kind of attention deficit disorder.
Rather than discussing how attention is monetized and manipulated by corporations, mindfulness advocates to view the crisis as an internal battle. The result is that we meekly retreat into the private sphere without critically engaging with the causes of suffering in the structures of power and economic systems of capitalist society.