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Mindful Mindlessness in a World of Mindless Mindfulness

Mindful Mindlessness in a World of Mindless Mindfulness
By John Harper

The Entrepreneurship of Self?

Mindfulness has become a $1+ billion niche market within the $12+ billion self-help / spiritual-growth industry. Is this a case of  hijacking or trespassing by a host of online carnival barkers and self promoting snake oil salespeople or something else? Hijacking is a phenomena we see all too often in our curate–coopt–shuffle–rebrand–market culture. It’s the way of the world – past & present – on technology steroids these days. Whatever your field, product or service tag it with mindfulness and ride the wave.

The term mindfulness is being used and bantered about in a coopting-sloppy fashion. It’s useful to discriminate the “mindfulness” of the “market” from mindfulness as spiritual practice. The orientation of self to mindfulness or mindfulness to self is key.

The majority of articles and promotions of mindfulness I see are oriented around an individual (self) using mindfulness for some purpose to enhance the self’s life experience. Not a bad thing, but this orientation supports the continuance of the self. Mindfulness, as a spiritual practice, challenges the whole nature of the self and its activity.

Mindfulness, as it developed in spiritual traditions, never promise practitioners a better life, more worldly success nor stress-free living. In fact, it may lead to unimagined challenges, then again practitioners of mindfulness may find themselves living better, stress-free lives with more worldly success, but attributing mindfulness with causality is like claiming that Pinocchio awakened from his own efforts.

As a student of the Diamond Approach, I have many hours of practice with mindfulness, concentration, meditation, inquiry, presence and other practices. Some of these include awareness of the content of experience and others do not.

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