Mindfulness: Self-Help Critiques

In this reading response #8 blog, we were asked to read three articles. Firstly, I would like to say that I found these three articles to be very interesting and intriguing. They all talked about one’s mind, which relates to the meditation assignment that we are currently working on for two weeks. When I look at the word mindfulness, I think it means to focus on your mind being balance with the right amount of everything that is going on in your life. I also think that mindfulness is having complete control with your own mind to where no one or thing can dispute or destroy your process.

The first article I read was called, “The Mindful Revolution,” by Kate Pickert. It was posted on The TIME magazine official website on January 23rd, 2014 at 4:13pm EST. This article talked about different exercises that companies did to get the prefect mindfulness. As stated by Pickert, “Mindfulness says we can do better. At one level, the techniques associated with the philosophy are intended to help practitioners quiet a busy mind, becoming more aware of the present moment and less caught up in what happened earlier or what is to come. Many cognitive therapists commend it to patients as a way to help cope with anxiety and depression. More broadly, it’s seen as a means to deal with stress.” This defines the article’s definition of mindfulness. She also stated, “Though meditation is considered an essential means to achieving mindfulness, the ultimate goal is simply to give your attention fully to what you’re doing. One can work mindfully, parent mindfully and learn mindfully. One can exercise and even eat mindfully.” As I stated in my first paragraph, mindfulness is connected to meditation. The article also mentioned the meditation app call Headspace, that I am using for my meditation assignment.

The second article I read was called, “The mindfulness conspiracy,” by Ronald Purser. It was posted on The Guardian magazine official website on Friday 14th of June 2019 at 1:00pm EDT. This article mentions parts of the first article, “The Mindful Revolution,” by Kate Pickert. Purser states, “So, what exactly is this magic panacea? In 2014, Time magazine put a youthful blonde woman on its cover, blissing out above the words: “The Mindful Revolution.” The accompanying feature described a signature scene from the standardized course teaching MBSR: eating a raisin very slowly. “The ability to focus for a few minutes on a single raisin isn’t silly if the skills it requires are the keys to surviving and succeeding in the 21st century,” the author explained.” This shows that he was critiquing the article. Purser also states, “Mindfulness is nothing more than basic concentration training. Although derived from Buddhism, it has been stripped of the teachings on ethics that accompanied it, as well as the liberating aim of dissolving attachment to a false sense of self while enacting compassion for all other beings.” I some what disagree with him because I think he was displaying it in more of a negative way.

The third article I read was called, “The problem of mindfulness,” by Sahanika Ratnayake. It was posted on the Aeon website on 25th of July 2019. As stated by Ratnayake, “Mindfulness promotes itself as value-neutral, but it is loaded with (troubling) assumptions about the self and the cosmos.” Sahanika Ratnayake is a graduate student in philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Her PhD project concerns the history and philosophy of contemporary psychotherapy. What I admire from this article was how she was able to gain a wonderful experience from said university she attended, along with changing things in her life due to difficulties. “At the end of the Cambridge study, I found myself to be calmer, more relaxed and better able to step away from any overwhelming feelings. My experience was mirrored in the research findings, which concluded that regular mindfulness meditation reduces stress levels and builds resilience.”

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