Saturday, January 23, 2016

the downside of "mindfulness"

With so much money to be made in the "mindfulness" realm, you can sort of see why employers and individuals alike have granted it a growing cachet. In one way, it's an embellished version of the quick-and-easy "take a chill pill." Who wouldn't like to be more at peace, whether at home or on the job?

But together with the upside potential, there is a definite downside aspect and, to my mind, neglecting the latter is dangerous. Yes, I'm aware of the hordes of people who would like to reduce spiritual life to an explicable, psychological direction. That's just one of the attempts to remain in control and talk pretty. But there really are negative aspects as this Guardian article points out.

I know there will be a hundred yes-but's with which to address the problems raised in the article. Nothing that's any good doesn't have a serious potential for something bad. But the willingness to concede the downside aspects can sometimes be drowned out in the desperate effort to heal many wounds. [I once knew a fellow who tried to commit seppuku when he found that he could no longer sit cross-legged in meditation ... he was found on his bed in a pool of blood and was, luckily, saved.]

Spiritual adventures really can be very good tools. But they are not toys that make children feel better or workers more serene. They have the power to clarify and the power to immerse in darkness and an unwillingness to concede either potential is no joke.

I'm posting the article not as a means of 'debunking' mindfulness or spiritual practices, but by way of what I consider a good reminder.


1 comment:

  1. If you've spent your life holding tightly, letting go can be scary. I dimly recall a teacher saying that it's ok to fall into nothingness, nothingness isn't so bad. But the vertigo you have to pass through can be pretty rough.