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My problem with Western Mindfulness


I recently completed a course called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), I took it to see what secular mindfulness was all about, especially as it is now offered on the NHS, keeping up with the Joneses and all that. The course was nice enough, the teachers where lovely and the participants sincere and open-minded. But I have to say I struggled with the pointlessness of it all, if I was coming at it fresh without any spiritual background, it would have gone straight in the bin.


To get some perspective, mindfulness is actually mind training, a bit like relaxation is body training. It comes from the eastern tradition of meditation which in turn is the inner enquiry into the truth of our being.


When you pluck mindfulness out of its original context and then make it a stand alone technique, you not only miss the entire point of why we do it, but you literally dumb it down. Much like goat yoga. Don't get me wrong, I would pay a lot of money to do goat yoga, but I wouldn't have any expectations that it will transform my life.


Mindfulness is part of a deeper enquiry into the depth of our being, who or what we are. By using the technique of mindfulness to become more alert and present, we can then begin the spiritual enquiry, which is the point of meditation. I was quite gutted that this didn't play any role in the MBSR course, wasn't even hinted at. You take one of the key swords of spiritual enquiry and you present it as a band-aid. Wow, just wow. I try really hard not to rant in the video, you know that's hard for me :-)





4 Comments


Thank you Elaine. Fully agree with you and you have put it over brilliantly.

Hopefully these MBSR courses may be a tool , as you say, and allow some people to open up spiritually . That happened for me when I started having reflexology years ago.

Rupert Spira investigates the question 'Who am I ? ' and self enquiry. ( ' What I am?' is better though ) I have found him very helpful. Lots on You Tube or his website.. rupertspira.com

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Yes! Love Spira, also Adyashanti I mention in the video (https://adyashanti.opengatesangha.org/), and Mooji (https://mooji.org/) 😍

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Mmmm what am I ? I never thought of asking that. It has a whole different feel. What Am I? I'm going to have to ask that a lot to get a real sense of knowing

I did a 24 day mindfulness ( video) challenge last winter. It was good. It trained my attention which helped me in a number of ways. But you are right it lacked the depth, the real profoundness of a deep meditation.

Many folks don't want to look inward at all so MBSR is good for them. Following the breath and body scans are great for helping folks get comfortable looking inward.

You did a great job of discerning how MSBR fell short for you.

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Hello, I think you would find Rupert Spira helpful..see my comment to Elaine for his website etc . His book ' Aware of being aware ' is good .

Eckhart Tolle also.

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