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  #21  
Unread 03-28-2021, 04:55 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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People do say the silliest things about mindfulness. Mindfulness, which in my life is meditation and my efforts to perform tasks without being distracted by something else, has nothing in common with taking a pill, nor does it cause one to ignore the revolution or the need for revolution, or any of the other things said about mindfulness by those who don't practice it and are ignorant that they have no idea what mindfulness is. It has nothing to do with over-work, just as it has nothing to do with demons. Gandhi, MLK, Mandela were all very mindful men. It is their mindfulness that allowed them to stay the course. Mindfulness is nothing more than quieting the mind, meeting the noise of distraction with a quiet that over time envelopes the noise of distraction. It is not simply another distraction. That's political think, which is a distraction that comes with the lie it is everything. Meditation, mindfulness, is the way out of the blaring oblivion that is life in the world. If you are able to clear your mind of the noise you will be much more likely to see the need for social change than you were when your head was full of ideas about what constitutes change. It may even make it possible to have a real revolution that isn't just another change of who is in charge. I have long agreed with Pascal that the world could be changed for the better if everyone could sit quietly in a chair all day. Noise isn't change, whether it be the sound of a bullhorn at a rally or the snick of a guillotine blade, or the sly comment of a book reader. It's just noise.
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  #22  
Unread 03-28-2021, 06:02 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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John just so won this debate. What more is there to say?
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  #23  
Unread 03-29-2021, 12:45 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Great post, John

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 03-29-2021 at 08:15 AM. Reason: removed sarcasm: not very mindful
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  #24  
Unread 03-29-2021, 07:23 AM
Yves S L Yves S L is offline
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Mindfulness is ___ because ___.
Enlightenment is ___ because ___.
Those who are mindful behave as ___ because ___ resulting in ___.
Those who are englightened behave as ___ because ___ resulting in ___.
The purpose of mindfulness is ___.
The purpose of enlightenment is ___.

For me, the dominant theme in most popular discussions tend to revolve around the topic of negative emotions, with the topic of negative emotions often spoken of relative to environmental stressors, with the topic of evironmental stressors quickly leading to a person's personal politics, so in the end the topic of minfulness becomes just another way to talk about social structuring, with the topic of social structuring being the main topic of interest.
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  #25  
Unread 03-29-2021, 10:12 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark McDonnell View Post
edited by Mark McDonnell; Reason: removed sarcasm: not very mindful
It's mindful to recognize, as your comment did, that there's no need for this to be an argument. Very little in this thread contradicts anything else in it.

Mindfulness (or "mindfulness") can help us accept the world’s wrongs. Mindfulness can help us work toward changing them.
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  #26  
Unread 03-29-2021, 01:06 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Thanks Max. No, it isn't a debate or argument to be won or lost. I do understand Quincy's point. Meditation, in the form of "mindfulness", has become newly fashionable again, so big business is using it to look good. I suppose a similar thing could be said for certain aspects of corporate anti-racism training. The simplest, most self-evidently good ideas (quietness of mind/not being a racist) are cynically monetised by "experts" and used as sticking plasters and hollow symbols of virtue by corporations.

I agree with John that a lot of silliness is talked about mindful meditation, both by those who advocate it and those who are ignorant about it. He describes it beautifully. I started doing it about three years ago. You don't need to sit in lotus position for hours, or take any expensive courses, or wear robes. It isn't a fad, or a distraction, or a way of escaping reality or blinding yourself to injustice. It isn't only for the stressed-out and overworked and it doesn't have much to do with poetry, or gardening, or walking, though it may help you appreciate and enjoy those things more. As I understand it, it's a method of quietening the mind by maintaining close focus on something, usually the breath, and learning to regard the thoughts that inevitably arise in your consciousness objectively, as independent mental processes over which you have little control, rather than identifying with them as representative of some fundamental "I" or "Self". You notice the thought occurring, acknowledge it, dismiss it and refocus. It's actually wonderfully simple as a technique but very challenging to do (it's amazing how noisy the mind is). But it's very satisfying to get slowly and gradually "better" at it: ie to feel the distraction of the mind's chatter lessen and the deeper focus become easier. I think it's quite profound in its implications. It's definitely made me feel calmer and more connected to life, I'm sure it's helped me stay off the booze and I find the philosophy behind it fascinating.

This is a very simple 10 minutes. No distractingly tacky music, no faux-guru vibes, no elaborate metaphors, just a calm instructional voice and lots of silence.

https://youtu.be/Cp7pnHCY94U

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 03-29-2021 at 02:46 PM.
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  #27  
Unread 03-30-2021, 02:50 AM
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Jane Crowson Jane Crowson is offline
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Just to very quickly say that this has been such a lovely discussion to participate in and the varying perspectives have been interesting.

From past experience in life and e-discussion debates often dissolve into virtual fisticuffs (which can be entertaining but only in a blackly comedic way).

I don't have a perspective on mindfulness as a practice. I liked John's post.

But, I also think that it's sad that sometimes great practices can be used to promote structural inequalities (in a really basic example, allowing time for a five-minute yoga break in the middle of a meeting doesn't mean you've ticked a box that says 'I have fulfilled all the pastoral care needs for everyone in my organisation').

Having said all that, I really, really don't know much about mindful practices. I have practised mindfulness five times - mainly because a poet friend (not here) is also a guided meditation practitioner and offered me them for free. I found that I can sit still for more than five minutes without being nailed to a chair.

However, I am great at daydreaming, which might count in the wider sphere.

Sarah-Jane
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  #28  
Unread 03-30-2021, 05:22 AM
conny conny is offline
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all this talk of meditation makes it sound like its a part time thing.
if it's real, i think it has to be a permanent presence in ones life.
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  #29  
Unread 03-30-2021, 05:31 AM
conny conny is offline
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and also that applies to what Mark said about racism. in fact imo thats
the problem at the minute. A lot of the signalling is just making things worse.
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  #30  
Unread 03-30-2021, 11:50 AM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conny View Post
all this talk of meditation makes it sound like its a part time thing.
if it's real, i think it has to be a permanent presence in ones life.
Not necessarily. I think withholding judgment while observing and accepting reality as it is should be a temporary state in a typical day. We need a balance of different types of engagement with this imperfect world.
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