Over the last 25 years there has been a surprisingly rapid acceptance of “Mindfulness” practices into mainstream culture, including utilization as a therapeutic practice in the arena of psychology.
Mindfulness is now offered to help reduce depression, anxiety, stress, physical pain, relationship conflict, eating disorders, and a wide array of other distressing experiences.
As helpful as this may be, even passing familiarity with the Buddhist teachings identifies that such practices were actually intended for a much larger purpose which can generally be described as helping individuals evolve, emotionally and psychologically.
And perhaps, because mindfulness practices are amazingly easy to misunderstand and immensely difficult to properly implement, it is not surprising that much of what we see today being offered and practiced as “Mindfulness” seems to miss the developmental point of it all.
Mindfulness as a practice is not simply about finding a way to suffer less or to be happy. The natural consequence of proper Mindfulness practice are profound alterations in how we both experience our life, and how we live it.
It is also my contention, that as psychological growth and development occurs, then the quality of our relationships must also transform. Here I am referring to the relationship with my “self”, with the “other”, and with the “world” in which I live. And as this changes, so too does the fundamental basis for my actions and behaviours.
From my perspective, far too many modern Mindfulness orientations seem to be promising peace and happiness as though it were a pill we could take, without clear appreciation of the fact that this practice requires considerable discipline and proper instruction.
My next post, On Mindfulness, will provide greater clarity on the above thoughts and more. I encourage anyone interested to continue reading, and comment if you wish.