Friday, April 18, 2014

On Not Corrupting Mindfulness

I just received the June issue of Mindful Magazine (yes, there is a magazine devoted to mindfulness).  Inside the front cover is a full-page ad for a clothing company called Best Dressed Monk, Attire for the Mindful Man.  I honestly thought it was a joke, but it’s not.  Mindfulness has truly entered the commercial space.

Unfortunately, it’s entered the political space as well.  All too often, proponents of mindfulness wrap the practice up as a world changing force that will bring forth an emergence of a politically progressive agenda.  As if one must think GMOs are always bad or income redistribution is always good to be truly mindful.  Of course, sustainability is a good thing, and self-interest serves society better as enlightened self-interest, but none of this has anything to do with being mindful.

In fact, if mindfulness is truly to be defined as nonjudgmental awareness, proponents of mindfulness must be accepting of all points of view.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Addressing Reactivity and Its Impact

I recently presented to a large group of Direct Support Professionals, people who support individuals with behavioral challenges.  I have conducted similar workshops for family members of those with serious mental illness.  We talk about stress management, self-protection, and the limits of compassion.  We meditate together.  But the topic that always garners the most interest is how the supporters’ own reactivity, or fight or flight response, can precipitate negative behaviors in the individuals they support.