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Overdoing mindfulness

tibellustibellus Veteran Veteran

I was just reading this article and thinking that this whole "selling mindfulness to the people" concept the article talks about sounds like a commercial, and a sad one at that. I didn't know that "mindfulness" is so big in the west.

"The world was engaged in what was literally called “a war on distraction”: there were mindfulness practices in kindergartens; business schools were incorporating meditation and mindfulness into activities like sending an email; couples therapists were touting mindfulness in their practices; there were 32 mindfulness apps for sale in the App Store; centers for mindfulness at universities were popping up everywhere; and peer-reviewed studies from the U.S., Europe, and Asia confirmed that this was a sound science. The world was finding positive outcomes. We’d found our medicine: It was inside us all along."

Here's the article: http://magazine.good.is/features/issue-33-war-on-distraction

Earthninjammoshadowleaverlobster

Comments

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    Yes, mindfulness has become very fashionable. But then it is a very powerful technique when applied consistently and correctly.

    Earthninjalobster
  • tibellustibellus Veteran Veteran

    I think when it's seen just as a tool, just something to be used because everyone else is doing it things become problematic. I feel that the author started her "mindfulness journey" due to peer pressure and the whole thing felt forced on her. When you do this because people tell you or show you there's something wrong with you, you return to your old habits feeling free again; it doesn't really matter if those habits are good or bad.

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    I think you can never overdo mindfulness enough.
    If it seems that mindfulness is too much in the candlelight recently, it is because different targets of the population call for different approaches and different presentations.

    I read recently that the Orthodox Church in Bulgary has proclaimed Yoga as evil and leading people to existential turmoil and confusion.
    You have to be very careful how to present a technique of foreign and exotic origin such as mindfulness.

    As with everything, mindfulness feels less strained when it is seen as a way of life, or as a way to see the world, and is stemmed in one's personal choice, as a result of one's evolution in a spiritual path.

    Earthninja
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @DhammaDragon said:

    I read recently that the Orthodox Church in Bulgary has proclaimed Yoga as evil and leading people to existential turmoil and confusion.

    Good plan. The Bulgarians have their traditional Christ centered evils, orthodox existential turmoil and fancy dress confusion. Here for example is one of their unconfused dressed as a non-evil faberge easter egg, with some sort of uppity yogi bashing stick.

    ... normal mindfullness is now resumed ...

    EarthninjaWalkerInvincible_summersilver
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    People try to commercialise everything, but hey being mindful can only help right! We can all see just how much of a scally wag we really are.

  • tibellustibellus Veteran Veteran

    I feel that if you take a concept out of its original system, removing everything around it, chances are it will be misunderstood. This is what I feel is happening to the concept of mindfulness/awareness and meditation.

    Related to the Orthodox Church: they've been trying to unconfuse us here in Eastern Europe for some time. Everything that's not Orthodox is evil from their point of view. One of their ways was becoming filthy rich while the flock stayed poor but, of course, unconfused. :smile:

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @tibellus said:> I feel that if you take a concept out of its original system, removing everything around it, chances are it will be misunderstood.

    There's not much we can do about that. What we can do is try to understand mindfulness properly ourselves, and that means practising it.

    Though when they start teaching mindfulness to burglars I might start to worry. ;)

    silver
  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Veteran Vermont Veteran

    @Earthninja said:
    People try to commercialise everything, but hey being mindful can only help right! We can all see just how much of a scally wag we really are.

    -Agreed. As an aside, I don't have an "I-phone" so I've never used an "Ap," that being said, I am curious about how Mindfulness aps work. In the past I have argued cell phones, tablets, computers, etc sometimes enable the alienation of the user. I wonder if a mindfulness ap is somehow ironic? Of course, in my ignorance I could be way off the mark...

  • dantepwdantepw Veteran Veteran

    @tibellus hi friend!

    I dont think its a bad thing the fact mindfulness is becoming well-known! Many of us really need it. It amazing how such a simple lifestyle could lead us to endless states of peace and joy throughout the day.

    Also I believe most people wouldnt practice mindfulness out of pressure, simply because it wouldnt be pleasant and, hence, wouldnt work. Just like Catholicism in the country I live, everyone is into God and Church and that was what I was conditioned to follow, but it doesnt float my boat.

    Society will always pressurize you to do something. If u wanna do it, its up to you, regardlessly other peoples opinion! Its nice that mindfulness becomes famous cuz its another option for those who are looking for a path. :)

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    It comes down to wisdom.

    silver
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    My problem with this commercialization is that I don't think it's true mindfulness as we know it. I think it is more so companies have learned that if they teach mindfulness in a particular way, their employees are more productive. Using mindfulness to make rich people more money so that people put more work into their overworked and overstressed lives just seems the wrong approach. Most of them don't do it for the well-being of their employees.

    I don't think one can overdo mindfulness. But I think it can be done wrong, as in what I said above. Intention means a lot, as we all known, and if the intention of the mindfulness is to make people produce more at work, I think something is lost.

    It would be interesting to spend some time at a place where commercial mindfulness is used to be able to compare it to what I know of it view my path. Perhaps it is still beneficial. But when I see so many stories that say "mindfulness increases worker productivity" it makes me cringe.

    lobster
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran

    My guess is that the concept of mindfulness of which "we" are familiar came primarily from Buddhism. But certainly there were people who could clearly focus their minds before the advent of Buddhist thought. As with anything that has no copyright, it's a concept that involves in different ways for different people. Which is probably a good thing. Nothing is permanent...right? Things change, evolve, spread, diminish, return, whatever.

    mmo
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    Absolutely, and people should use whatever they can and want to use that they feel better their lives. I enjoy the spiritual side of yoga, that certainly doesn't mean I tell people who do yoga only for exercise that they are doing it wrong. If people want to learn a form of mindfulness to be better at their jobs, more power to them. My problem comes with the articles that talk about it in that way, and then talk about how it's a Buddhist concept. It just totally gives the wrong idea. It doesn't harm Buddhism itself in any way. It's just annoying because when people know I'm Buddhist, they send me links to that stuff and say "Look! Buddhism is spreading, even people at Google do Buddhism!" Sigh.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    To overdo mindfulness is when one is not being mindful....

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

    It could be a good thing if it makes us (newbuddhists) question what mindfulness is and what it might achieve.

  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    edited June 2015

    I would rather say that mindfullnes is done wrong rather than overdone.

    Mindfullness is a strong and useful tool on its own but it is only a shard as powerful as when used with Metta, Karuna, Mudita and Upekka.

    And even better when used in its proper context of Anatta, Dukkha and Anicca or the DO.

    Mindfullness is like fishing in the creek when the ocean of Dhamma is just nearby.

    lobstermmo
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    @vinlyn said:
    My guess is that the concept of mindfulness of which "we" are familiar came primarily from Buddhism. But certainly there were people who could clearly focus their minds before the advent of Buddhist thought.

    Exactly so. From masonic teachings, occult and pagan teachings, contemplative Christian teachings, certain psychological teachings and so on.
    I would suggest that mindfulness free of baggage, including Buddhist baggage is often very helpful ...
    https://masonicbeehive.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/what-are-we-without-intent/

    Victorious
  • shadowleavershadowleaver Veteran Veteran

    Wow, that's an awesome, awesome article! Thank you so much for sharing!

    I totally relate to the author's struggles. Ultimately, it is necessary to engage in the world, express oneself there, take in and amplify this one life we have. I feel that "mindfulness" these days is often used as just another drug, one that numbs you down and disensythizes you to the experience of being alive in this world. It makes that experience slightly more tolerable but traps you in your head, makes it all about just you. It seems like its popularized version is just another one of those self-indulgent distractions that it purports to fight.

    Meditation is just one of the tools on the spiritual path but it is not the spiritual path itself. For instance, the Eightfold Path has 8 folds and only one of them is meditation... There has to be a direction, a story to one's life. Meditation may or may not be a part of it... But in the end, if I don't somehow help those around me through their day, who cares how much I am focused on the breath or whether I feel the water flowing down my skin in the shower?

    I'll take a lively party goer and drinker who makes others feel alive over a blissed out yuppy on their yoga mat any time of the day!

    tibellus
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