Mindfulness alone won't do the job

As mindfulness is increasingly popularized in the West, many senior Buddhist practitioners, scholars and teachers are concerned about the potential of it becoming yet another commodity and losing its purpose.  Some are even worried about mindfulness being hijacked by giant corporations or military institutions to optimize capitalist schemes or train soldiers to be more effective at war. Personally, I'm not too concerned about this and trust in the inevitable positive changes that occur when we practice mindfulness and become more gentle, self-aware and intelligent beings.  However, I do agree with the critics that mindfulness alone won't do the job.  The purpose of mindfulness practice is to prepare us for gaining insight into the human condition, the nature of mind and reality, and slowly deconstructing our fixed notions of self and other.

Insight Meditation
Insight Meditation

When done correctly, mindfulness practice helps us establish our mind in the ground of being, and consequentially, with a fresh perspective we can begin to explore our innate capacity for pro-social emotions such as joy, compassion, gratitude, love or interconnectedness.

This is the purpose of mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is a preliminary practice, to slow down the activity of the nervous system and develop an awareness of the cognitive and emotional processes that occur within us.  By training awareness of these processes, we gradually learn to dis-identify from our compulsive thoughts and emotions, and with the aid of the breath, can venture into the deeper space of mind.

This insight meditation practice is called Vipassana.

 

Anahita MoghaddamComment