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Perspective | Mindfulness would be good for you. If it weren't so selfish.

The imposter

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.

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Perspective | Mindfulness would be good for you. If it weren't so selfish.

Perspective | Mindfulness would be good for you. If it weren't so selfish.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/mindfulness-would-be-good-for-you-if-it-werent-all-just-hype/2017/08/24/b97d0220-76e2-11e7-9eac-d56bd5568db8_story.html

washingtonpost.com

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Key Ideas

The imposter

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.

Definition of mindfulness

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.

Mindfulness is a limited tool

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.

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Mindfulness is not a magic panacea

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...

Mindfulness has been repackaged

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

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.

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Use of mindfulness
Mindfulness can be used as a preventative treatment for depression.

The idea is that you actively pay attention to the moment, without judging. It helps the mind to revisit thoughts about...

Mindfulness as an effective treatment

There is clinical evidence for mindfulness-based cognitive therapy as a way to prevent depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness may be good for other psychiatric conditions including bipolar disorder.

There is also growing evidence that mindfulness is effective for chronic long-term health conditions.

Mindfulness can be overstated

Mindfulness is not a cure all. With all the hype around mindfulness it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether the information is quality-controlled and reliable. We need  to be careful not to overstate it's usefulness.

Mindfulness and simple knowing
Mindfulness and simple knowing

Mindfulness is the act of being aware of our present experience in real-time.

Normally people start processing inside their minds what they experience, creating perceptions. At its core, ...

One Medicine Many Cures

Mindfulness can be practised to:

  1. Manage pain, anxiety, stress, or mood swings.
  2. Provide the body and mind an oasis of calm in between a hectic lifestyle
  3. Reduce suffering, distress and trauma caused by pain and depression, along with the negative emotions that come with life-threatening diseases.
The Space Inside Us

Mindfulness opens up a space inside our minds that helps us respond to outside situations with ease, instead of just reacting impulsively.

We become aware and are able to detect our default setting, which is our ‘driven-doing mind’, and catch hold of it before any impulsive reaction is acted upon. It also helps us arrest our cycle of negative thoughts.

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