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Stop forcing your mindfulness on me

Harms of Mindfulness

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.

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Stop forcing your mindfulness on me

Stop forcing your mindfulness on me

https://www.fastcompany.com/90326777/stop-forcing-your-mindfulness-on-me?partner=rss

fastcompany.com

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Key Ideas

Mindfulness is not a panacea

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.

Modern Mindfulness

Mindfulness as a practice today is loosely based on the Buddhist concept of Sati, as described in the Buddhist text the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. But there isn’t a single word in the text that translates to “now” or “present,” which is central to its modern application.

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. 

Harms of Mindfulness

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.

Viable Alternatives to Mindfulness

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.

Meditation for problem solving

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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Mindfulness in major religions

Instructions for mindfulness meditations have been found in ancient texts of nearly every major religion, but it's Buddhism that exemplifies best mindfulness meditation: it...

Meditation and healthcare

Meditation has drifted from its religious connections and has been adopted by psychologists, healthcare professionals and other secular organizations as an effective way to deal with the stress and illnesses of the modern world.

3 core components of meditation:
  • Awareness: Focus on developing awareness. 
  • Non-Judgement: Witnessing an experience or sensation without attachment or criticism.
  • Peace: Though your feelings are valuable, mindfulness teaches you how to find serenity despite them.

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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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Contemporary mindfulness

Research findings conclude that regular mindfulness meditation reduces stress and builds resilience. 

Yet, those who practice contemporary mindfulness find, instead of engaging in ca...

Mindfulness critics
  • Mindfulness does not demonstrate the truth of key Buddhist doctrines. The nonjudgmental aspects are at odds with Buddhist meditation, where people are supposed to actively evaluate and engage with their experiences.
  • The goals of mindfulness attempt to reduce suffering, but Buddhism aims to escape the miserable cycle of rebirth altogether.
  • Mindfulness has moved from therapy to commodification, and a corrupted version results from it.
Mindfulness is unsuited for self-understanding

Mindfulness is grounded in the Buddhist doctrine. It is a metaphysical denial of the self - there is no soul, spirit or any ongoing individual basis for identity. There is no 'self' or 'me', and consequently, no thoughts that are 'mine'.se

Western metaphysics holds that there is some entity to whom all these experiences are happening. We refer to this entity as 'I' or 'me'.

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