In the West intense interest in the practice of Mindfulness has been nothing short of phenomenal. I practice it myself and have experienced life-changing benefit from it. Others I know have received the same.
But, as I’ve shared in this practice I’ve also been made aware of the pitfalls, not because Mindfulness itself is flawed, but because of the human tendency to always misunderstand and want to take short-cuts.
For me the biggest problem was and still is the constant temptation to almost unconsciously want to move in to a form of destructive detachment. I speak for myself here. I have to watch this very carefully. I’ve noticed that when I practice mindfulness without being mindful of mindfulness itself, I can slowly counsel myself in to passivity. Then the practice becomes a kind of medication to distract my attention from underlying problems and issues that have to be dealt with.
So, for me, if my practice does not lead to healthy and constructive engagement with the underlying issues that cause the stress or difficulty in the first place, it’s meaningless. I’m convinced that when Mindfulness individualizes and anaesthetizes, it is no longer Mindfulness.
Yesterday I was once again made aware of how the clowns amongst us essentially avoid conflict. When something other than gladness or joy is expressed, like fear, hurt or anger, the clown is quick to tell a joke or make a winsome remark.
The tactic is painfully obvious, superficial and in most cases downright annoying. With the others I gave the polite little smile, and eventually, when I walked away, I thought, “Shit! I should have said something.”
I listened to an interview with a woman who is deaf and an authority on lipreading. She spoke of how she is able to watch the Soccer World Cup and become aware of a world very few people see.
It’s the world of what the coach is actually saying to his players from the sideline, what the players are actually saying to the referee and each other, what the spectators are shouting at the ref and the players, and it just goes on and on. Imagine that? A whole new world just suddenly opening up with the power to lipread.
It just goes to show, developing and growing our senses, can take us in to a world beyond the one we so superficially experience and skip through.