The news is now full of articles and references to something called “mindfulness.” We have also started meeting total strangers who are in some fashion learning, teaching, or otherwise involved with mindfulness. We thought we should investigate further.
As is usual with most English words, there are multiple definitions. Here are some:
— The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
— A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment.
— The basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
— Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.
— A simple form of meditation — as an example, focusing your full attention on your breath.
— A combination of mindfulness with cognitive behavioral therapy called “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy” as a treatment for symptoms of depression.
Merriam-Webster says that the first known use of the word was around 1530 A.D. — so it’s not really anything particularly new. It has, however, been relatively recently co-opted by the psychology and psychiatry industries as one of their newest “treatments.”
Already the race is on for government funds to finance research into practicing mindfulness to help manage symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, psychosis, and bipolar disorder.
There is even a “Mindful Awareness Research Center” at UCLA which is run by a psychiatrist. It runs a year-long training program to teach mindfulness meditation, and teaches classes in psychotherapy, mindfulness and meditation.
There’s even a research study which found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy helped people just as much as commonly prescribed anti-depressant drugs.
Given the negative publicity these psychiatric drugs have been receiving for being addictive and having horrific side effects, it is not surprising that psychiatrists and psychologists have jumped on the mindfulness bandwagon.
Well, really, what is the underlying technology of mindfulness? It’s pretty simple, and it doesn’t need a year of psychiatric training to accomplish. It’s called Present Time.
Present Time: Now; The current time or moment.
As a matter of fact, a person can be stuck in many different past moments. One’s behavior and attitudes are influenced by such past incidents and experiences. Bringing a person to Present Time can help remove these past influences and bring sanity to a person.
Unfortunately, meditation is a misleading method of doing this, and it is promoted by psychiatrists and psychologists precisely because it can create more harm than good.
Notwithstanding the many thousands of people hooked on meditation, bear with us as we discuss this.
Meditation is a method of directing one’s attention inward, into one’s mind; the word is derived from the Latin meditatio, from the verb meditari, meaning “to think, contemplate, devise, ponder”.
In contrast, being in Present Time is directing one’s attention outward, into the environment and out of one’s mind. The point is to get unstuck from one’s mind, not to focus attention on one’s mind.
So, mindfulness as a synonym for Being In Present Time is a good thing; but the corruption of mindfulness into meditation by psychiatry and psychology has confused the subject and rendered it not only less effective but actually harmful.
Click here for more information about Alternatives to psychiatry.