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Showing posts from March 7, 2014

Mindfulness Is Not Enough

Back in the late 1970s Jon Kabat-Zinn realized the potential value the 2,500 Buddhist meditation and awareness technique called sati—commonly translated into english as “mindfulness”—would have in therapeutic settings if it was stripped of its spiritual trappings and presented as a course in stress reduction. And so secular mindfulness was born, the wholsesale transformation of one the many, integrated tools of Buddhist practice into an entire self-help cottage industry. The new mindfulness was employed towards a vast array of ends, from reducing stress in the workplace to preventing addiction relapses, developing well being and so on. The list is potentially endless (check out a catalogue from your local 'well being' institute for the details).

Naturally, an essential development in presenting mindfulness as a marketable commodity was to extract it from the less market friendly tools in buddhist practice, such as the demands to participate in a spiritual community (sangha) a…