Self-Help Critiques

The three articles I was assigned to read was “The Mindful Revolution” by Kate Pickert,” The Mindful Conspiracy” by Ronald Purser and “ The Problem of Mindfulness” by Sahanika Ratnayake. These 3 books were somewhat interesting. The first article I read was “The Mindful Revolution” by Kate Pickert. What comes to mind when I hear the word mindful people ask. Well my answer to that is when I hear the word mindful I think of the phrases be aware because I was always told to be mindful but I never knew of what. The article mostly talks about her taking a curriculum course called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) where they would meet every Monday evening for eight weeks.  This course was developed in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, an MIT-educated scientist. In the course she learns about meditation and mindfulness. This relates to what me and my classmates are doing. We are doing a 2 week meditation to cope with whatever we are going through and it really helps. Kate writes, “One evening, we were introduced to mindful walking. In our small meeting room, we formed a circle and paced together. “Feel your heel make contact with the floor, then the ball of your foot,” said Paulette. “One foot, then the other.” Anxious feelings about planning the week ahead and emails in my inbox that might be waiting for replies crept into my head even though my phones were off and tucked away. Mindfulness teachers say this kind of involuntary distraction is normal and that there’s no point in berating ourselves for mentally veering away from the task at hand”. I can relate to this quote so much because sometimes when I meditate I know I’m getting notifications and text messages and I just feel that urge to grab my phone and see what’s the update. My phone is so important to me that I need to be on it 24/7 although it takes me away from the outside world. 


The second article I read was ” The Mindful Conspiracy” by Ronald Purser. Ronald used a quote from “The Mindful Revolution” by Kate Pickert and then talks about how it connects to what he was saying. In the article the author talks about reduction in stress and increases in personal happiness and well-being. The author writes,”Instead, the practice is being sold to executives as a way to de-stress, improve productivity and focus, and bounce back from working 80-hour weeks. They may well be “meditating”, but it works like taking an aspirin for a headache. Once the pain goes away, it is business as usual. Even if individuals become nicer people, the corporate agenda of maximising profits does not change”. This quote is using a metaphor to compare that “meditating” is like taking an aspirin for a headache. I agree with this quote because when I meditate I’m relieving all the stress and I’m becoming more relaxed so when I take an aspirin my head becomes more relaxed. 


The third article I read was “ The Problem of Mindfulness” by Sahanika Ratnayake. Sahanika explains how mindfulness was in the air when she studied for a master degree in Philosophy at the University at Cambridge. The author writes,” One technique in Buddhism, for example, involves examining thoughts, feelings and physical sensations, and noting that they are impermanent, both individually and collectively. Our thoughts and emotions change rapidly, and physical sensations come and go in response to stimuli. As such (the thinking goes), they cannot be the entity that persists throughout a lifetime – and, whatever the self is, it cannot be as ephemeral and short-lived as these phenomena”. This quote reminds me of another self help book we have read called “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle because he talks about how Buddha uses a negative definition of mindfulness. So that the mind can choose weather to believe in or into superhuman accomplishments.

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