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What is going on with mindfulness ?

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What is going on with mindfulness ? Mark 8/26/15 7:20 AM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? neko 8/26/15 6:42 AM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Chris Marti 8/26/15 9:02 AM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Eva Nie 8/26/15 12:00 PM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? svmonk 8/26/15 3:08 PM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Eva Nie 8/26/15 3:48 PM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? CJMacie 8/27/15 7:13 AM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Small Steps 8/27/15 11:02 AM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Eva Nie 8/30/15 7:19 PM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Mark 8/26/15 4:11 PM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Richard Zen 8/26/15 6:21 PM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Pål 8/27/15 10:17 AM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ 8/27/15 4:29 PM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Pål 8/28/15 12:00 PM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ 8/30/15 12:38 PM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Eva Nie 8/30/15 7:38 PM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Mark 8/30/15 1:37 PM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Chris Marti 8/30/15 5:21 PM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Mark 8/31/15 5:19 AM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ 8/31/15 11:14 AM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Eva Nie 8/30/15 8:06 PM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Mark 8/31/15 5:34 AM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Eva Nie 8/31/15 11:55 AM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? neko 8/31/15 9:08 AM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Psi 8/31/15 10:45 AM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Mark 8/31/15 10:50 AM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Psi 8/31/15 11:03 AM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Eva Nie 8/31/15 12:05 PM
RE: What is going on with mindfulness ? Psi 9/1/15 1:12 AM
What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/26/15 7:20 AM
Practises like MBSR are having a massive influence and mindfulness is a buzzword that is touching many areas of western culture like education, health care, military, corporations, sports etc.

I see mindfulness as a buddhist practise because it leads to insights and if practised enough should lead to an understanding of dependent origination. This could in turn lead to rejection of the concept of god, the rejection of the concept of an eternal soul, as well as a possible liberation from attachment.

It seems that whenever society is threatened with radical change there is significant conflict. For example the end of slavery in the USA, struggle for racial equality, womens' vote etc. Radical changes to the social norms are not invited in with open arms.

If mindfulness delivered on the promise of insight meditation then would it be a major threat to current social norms ?

We see mindfulness programs invited with open arms into prisons, schools, hospitals, military, corporations etc. This is pointing to something very strange about mindfulness - it is not seen as a threat, in fact the opposite. 

A reasoanble conclusion would be that mindfulness is in fact a "good thing" for the current social norms. It allows for even more conformism in students, employees and soldiers can handle more stress, sickness associated with modernity is more comfortabley accepted etc. 

I assume that most people being taught mindfulness are not putting in the effort that many people on this forum do. But by putting more effort in do people continue to passively support the social system that causes so much suffering ?

I'd be very interested to hear from awakened practitioners (for example stream entry or further on). Do you pose the sort of menace to social norms that radicals (those involved in social reforms) do ? Maybe you've gotten more involved in social reform ? Or maybe less ? Or maybe no change ? 

Also interested in others take on this. I'm not implying that all meditators** spend all their time sitting on cushions or don't care etc. I'm wondering why mindfulness is being embrassed so eagerly by interests like the US military and Google...

** Edited after reply from Neko - I had used buddhists. I don't want to imply that people using these practises are buddhist.

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/26/15 6:42 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
Do you pose the sort of menace to social norms that radicals (those involved in social reforms) do ?


No.


Mark:
Maybe you've gotten more involved in social reform ? Or maybe less ? Or maybe no change ? 


Less involved.


Mark:
I'm not implying that all buddhists spend all their time sitting on cushions or don't care etc.


(I am not a buddhist by the way.)

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/26/15 9:02 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark, you've made some good observations and asked some good questions about mindfulness. I've seen the mindfulness movement gaining a lot of momentum and I've done a little bit of thinking about it. I have fewer conclusions than I have observations. In no particular order, and assuming mindfulness as you are presenting it here is not a full-on meditation practice aimed at awakening but rather an MBSR-type practice aimed at reducing stress or pain:

- Mindfulness is like any tool, it can help the person who uses it in some ways but what the user gets out of it depends more on the user's goals, dedication and skill than it does on the nature of the practice of mindfulness itself

- Mindfulness is often adopted by institutions like Google or the US Army because it is believed to be a tool that can help people (employees or soldiers) be better at what they do - obviously for some benefit to the organization

- Mindfulness is sometimes being taught and learned by folks who do not have a very deep understanding of where mindfulnes practices can ultimately take them, even if it's not pursued as deeply as many folks here pursue it

- Mindfulness can and is being adopted by individuals who are desperate or in deep need of some kind of mental peace, stress reduction, health improvement, pain reduction or balance in their lives

- Mindfulness training seems to be a push/pull issue in many organizations - it's being adopted because people value it and want their organization to teach it/use it, and it is being adopted because the HR professionals (or the leadersbhip coaches or the wellness program coordinators) think it's cool and want to introduce it

This seems to be one of those areas where who is adopting the practice, and why, is really critical to understanding the purpose it serves, and maybe then can we think about a normative judgement - is it being used wisely, or unwisely" Is it benefitting society or....?

As to how a practice can influence a person's subsequent behavior, that too is a very complex topic. I don't believe awakening is necessarily "good" or "bad" for individuals or society. I think awakened human beings can seem threatening to others because they don't always have the same kind of motivation that less self-aware people do. I firmly believe that increased self-awareness is one of the most important things that accrues to people with long-standing, deeply introspective practices, and that can manifest in many ways on a person by person basis.

I had a conversation with a good meditation friend and teacher this past Saturday and we both have been thinking along these lines and observed that there is a tendency, generally unspoken and not well examined, for most meditators to believe that the overwhelming result of awakeing is "good." I think the results of awakening is more like the results of evolution -- it's different and can result in changes -- but the nature of those changes varies by individual, like everything else.

Whew -- I talk too much -- I can post more on the social aspects of this later.

Edited for clarity.

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/26/15 12:00 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mindfulness seems to be generally nonjudgemental and does not ask you to change anything like clinging or other things like that, plus it offers potential improvement in performance, so I could see how this would APPEAR fairly nonthreatening to any ego.  It is even nondominational, you don't have to adopt any new scary beliefs.  It's basically touted as a mind hack of sorts.  What could be wrong with just paying attention more?  Sounds great on all levels other than it needs a certain effort involved.  

But by paying attention to self more, it could work a bit like noting, you could end up learning something, learning something often results in changes of behavior down the road.  IMO, a big reason people are able to function happily with various problems and blind spots they have is because their conscious mind studiously does not let them realize those things are there.  Instead, all the problems those issues are causing gets blamed on outside forces, other people, circumstances, etc.   "You made me do..."  If a technique were to train them to become more and more away of all their own BS, IMO that technique could be powerful in interesting ways. 

For instance, once I started paying more attention to my moment to moment thoughts, and saw all the petty, silly, noconstructive, repetitive BS that most of them were, I mean how many people would be happy just continuing on from there doing the exact same thing as before?  Once aware of this kind of bs, I think few would be happy to just continue one with it without any efforts to change it.  IMO, it's the ignorance of it that allows it to continue for most and mindfulness may help combat the ignorance.   Even if it only helped someone by say 5%, that is still globally going to be a pretty strong influence if a lot of people do it. 

On the flip side, I think once it's done for a bit, the ego may start to catch on to the threat and try to get you do do it less by making you lose interest and be lazy about it, etc. Maybe.  Or would the ego continue to maybe eat its own tail like Ouroboros?  To be honest, I am not sure how effective mindfulness is so I can't really comment there.  But my assertion is that just because ego does not initially identify something as a threat does not mean it's not a threat.  Could it be like a secret insidious poisoned sugar pill or hidden virus to the ego?  It's an interesting concept really.  And if change is gradual, it's like boiling a frog.  We often use that analogy in the negative sense by improvement can also sneak in gradually just under the radar.  

In my mind for some years now, I have had this idea that if there was a system or idea that would promise yummy things to the ego, like more money, improved skills and success, etc, so that the ego would naturally grasp for it and want it, and when performed, would in fact deliver on those things, so that other egos would see it and also grasp for it.  (ie it would go 'viral') But if that system also had a way of sneakily making people slowly (slow enough to stay under the radar and not raise too many alarm bells) into better people morally as well, then it would be like the perfect virus for mankind's evolution.  Perhaps it could work like it made someone maybe 5% better, that person had kids that were raised with a slightly better environment so they were also 5% better, but then the kids do the system too and they get another 5% better so now the new generation is 10% better, etc.  It could build momentum over time.  Well it may be an optimistic kind of concept that is in my head but it would IMO be cool if something like mindfulness turns out to be such a system. 
-Eva   

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/26/15 3:08 PM as a reply to Mark.
Hi Mark,

The mindfulness trend seems to be an American thing, there is little sign of it here in Europe. Most of the practice here is along the lines of the Buddhist traditions/teachers, like Ayya Khema, or Hindu gurus, for example, Osho is really big here in Berlin.

At a certain level, I suppose mindfulness as a nonsecular development applied in corporate, medical, and other contexts is definitely helpful. The problem is, we don't really know from a scientific standpoint what is going on with mindfulness. There are certainly enough researchers studying it, but really, I don't think it is well enough understood yet.

Given that, I suspect that we may see people start falling into A&Ps and DNs and not have a clue about what is going on. When that happens, they will be very confused, because they were promised that mindfulness would make them perform better, decrease stress, and generally make them a happier all around person, i.e. that it is another technique for improving their constructed self, and it is having the directly opposite effect. The path and fruit moments, jhanas, and samadhi are powerful transformations of consciousness, that strike directly at the constructed self, undermining it in subtle and blatant ways. So, in a sense, there is a basic contradiction in the way the practice works at a deep level and the mindfulness movement.

Some of those people are going to be pretty desperate for help, and there are unfortunately not many resources out there to help them. I've seen a couple folks already show up here looking for help, new to meditation but experiencing anxiety due to some A&P or DN symptoms.

So I'd say, caution is in order. The Millenium might be just around the corner, but I suspect that a more likely outcome is that once enough folks start having A&Ps and DNs, the Twitterverse and Facebookverse will turn on mindfulness, either that or the fascination with it will just fade away, at least until it is better understood from a scientific standpoint.

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/26/15 3:48 PM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:

Given that, I suspect that we may see people start falling into A&Ps and DNs and not have a clue about what is going on. When that happens, they will be very confused, because they were promised that mindfulness would make them perform better, decrease stress, and generally make them a happier all around person, i.e. that it is another technique for improving their constructed self, and it is having the directly opposite effect. The path and fruit moments, jhanas, and samadhi are powerful transformations of consciousness, that strike directly at the constructed self, undermining it in subtle and blatant ways. So, in a sense, there is a basic contradiction in the way the practice works at a deep level and the mindfulness movement.

Some of those people are going to be pretty desperate for help, and there are unfortunately not many resources out there to help them. I've seen a couple folks already show up here looking for help, new to meditation but experiencing anxiety due to some A&P or DN symptoms.

So I'd say, caution is in order. The Millenium might be just around the corner, but I suspect that a more likely outcome is that once enough folks start having A&Ps and DNs, the Twitterverse and Facebookverse will turn on mindfulness, either that or the fascination with it will just fade away, at least until it is better understood from a scientific standpoint.
I think that depends on a lot of factors.  First, people who  have DN and whatnot often practice a TON and people who practice a ton are already a small and likely special subset of the population.  It may be less common if the general populace practices something more lightly.  Also up for consideration, what is the difference between a psychotic break induced by meditation and one that is not induced by meditation?  EIther way, I suspect it's your crap coming up faster than you are able to stabilize against it.  From appearance, I have not heard of any outward differences.  The only one I can think of is if apparently induced by meditation, if you stop meditating, does it get better?  I've heard this tactic suggested and it sounds logical, but does it work?  Some say that once the door is opened, it can't be closed again and the only way is to go forward.   And of course many people who do not meditate also improve from their psychotic breaks, so it's hard to determine causation and cure there.  And if a psychotic break (or depression or whatever) can't be clearly attributed to mindfulness, society may just assume those are just a few more isolated cases of people with various common problems that society already has and that it has nothign to do with mindfulness.  

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/26/15 4:11 PM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Hi Mark,

The mindfulness trend seems to be an American thing, there is little sign of it here in Europe. Most of the practice here is along the lines of the Buddhist traditions/teachers, like Ayya Khema, or Hindu gurus, for example, Osho is really big here in Berlin.


There has been a fair amount of media attention here in France about mindfulness. It seems to be much more in the public eye than buddhist traditions. A big part of that is the buzz in the USA raising attention here I guess. But as a concrete example I know of a local school here where the teachers are being introduced to mindfulness practises. I did not search out that information and I guess it is not a rare case.

France is quite big on psychotherapy etc and the "third wave" of therapies that incorporate mindfulness concepts will have a big impact I expect. But I do agree the trend is much bigger in the USA. I suspect the trend is growing in Europe.


At a certain level, I suppose mindfulness as a nonsecular development applied in corporate, medical, and other contexts is definitely helpful. The problem is, we don't really know from a scientific standpoint what is going on with mindfulness. There are certainly enough researchers studying it, but really, I don't think it is well enough understood yet.


A good point. The researchers would need to understand the brain in much greater detail to begin with. Very early days for research!

There was an interesting discussion recently on the Secular Buddhist podcast about mindfulness teaching. The host was arguing that what is taught in mindfulness programs is much more than the stress reduction techniques (even in MBSR programs).  That the 4 truths and 8fold path while not explicitly mentioned are pointed at. This was a surprise to me. It seems there is heated debate in the mindfulness community as to how to provide that larger container while remaining secular. My take away was that I had previously underestimated how much buddhism beyond mindfulness is in the programs.



Given that, I suspect that we may see people start falling into A&Ps and DNs and not have a clue about what is going on. When that happens, they will be very confused, because they were promised that mindfulness would make them perform better, decrease stress, and generally make them a happier all around person, i.e. that it is another technique for improving their constructed self, and it is having the directly opposite effect. The path and fruit moments, jhanas, and samadhi are powerful transformations of consciousness, that strike directly at the constructed self, undermining it in subtle and blatant ways. So, in a sense, there is a basic contradiction in the way the practice works at a deep level and the mindfulness movement.



When I first heard a mindfulness teacher interviewed about her experience in introducing mindfulness to teenagers I was shocked. She had several years of experience but did not show indications of someone with an advanced practise. When asked if the students sometimes ran into difficult issues she said it has not happened much and when it does she tells them to stop. Telling a teenager to stop something that is allowing them to get into altered mind states seems somewhat like giving a teen a joint and telling them not to light it. It seemed she did not even have a teacher herself that she could refer them to!


Some of those people are going to be pretty desperate for help, and there are unfortunately not many resources out there to help them. I've seen a couple folks already show up here looking for help, new to meditation but experiencing anxiety due to some A&P or DN symptoms.

So I'd say, caution is in order. The Millenium might be just around the corner, but I suspect that a more likely outcome is that once enough folks start having A&Ps and DNs, the Twitterverse and Facebookverse will turn on mindfulness, either that or the fascination with it will just fade away, at least until it is better understood from a scientific standpoint.

I would not rely on science too much. The proven ineffectiveness of certain psychotherapy treatments did not stop adoption. I suspect most people being exposed to mindfulness would have no interest in the science beyond what their teacher will tell them. Already many mindfulness programs are sold based on "scientific" results - MBSR being one of the most effective perhaps.

Maybe you mean that the science will start to understand the more fundamental nature of the changes meditaiton can cause and that will make people wary ?

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/26/15 6:21 PM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Hi Mark,

The mindfulness trend seems to be an American thing, there is little sign of it here in Europe. Most of the practice here is along the lines of the Buddhist traditions/teachers, like Ayya Khema, or Hindu gurus, for example, Osho is really big here in Berlin.

At a certain level, I suppose mindfulness as a nonsecular development applied in corporate, medical, and other contexts is definitely helpful. The problem is, we don't really know from a scientific standpoint what is going on with mindfulness. There are certainly enough researchers studying it, but really, I don't think it is well enough understood yet.

Given that, I suspect that we may see people start falling into A&Ps and DNs and not have a clue about what is going on. When that happens, they will be very confused, because they were promised that mindfulness would make them perform better, decrease stress, and generally make them a happier all around person, i.e. that it is another technique for improving their constructed self, and it is having the directly opposite effect. The path and fruit moments, jhanas, and samadhi are powerful transformations of consciousness, that strike directly at the constructed self, undermining it in subtle and blatant ways. So, in a sense, there is a basic contradiction in the way the practice works at a deep level and the mindfulness movement.

Some of those people are going to be pretty desperate for help, and there are unfortunately not many resources out there to help them. I've seen a couple folks already show up here looking for help, new to meditation but experiencing anxiety due to some A&P or DN symptoms.

So I'd say, caution is in order. The Millenium might be just around the corner, but I suspect that a more likely outcome is that once enough folks start having A&Ps and DNs, the Twitterverse and Facebookverse will turn on mindfulness, either that or the fascination with it will just fade away, at least until it is better understood from a scientific standpoint.
You've got to remember that many people aren't doing just mindfulness. They are using it to try to achieve goals (dopamine) so they may not all have strong withdrawal symptoms. Those who do lots of practice and wean themselves off without any goal to replace old thinking addictions will be the most suseptible to DN episodes over and over again, because they are weaning without rewards. Hence many teachers talking about a wet-path vs. a dry-path. Achieving goals at work or at home while staying present will be like a wet path.

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/27/15 7:13 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
re: Eva M Nie (8/26/15 3:48 PM as a reply to svmonk.)
"… First, people who  have DN and whatnot often practice a TON and people who practice a ton are already a small and likely special subset of the population.  It may be less common if the general populace practices something more lightly…."

The risks should be also acknowledged. There's ample evidence that even casual exposure to ASCs (altered states of consciousness), whether by cultivation or drug-induced, can push susceptible individuals (who themselves are most often not aware of this possibility) over the edge into a psychological crisis.

For example, "gi-gong" disease is a formal disease category in China, and shows-up here in the USA. I know of cases back in acupuncture school days, when people attending intro qi-gong classes in the park spontaneously flipped-out. Experienced Asian teachers could recognize it, but dealing with it, e.g. sensing the potential as well as handling crisis, is rare in popular teacher training. When cultivations like this become popular fads (like qi-gong in the 1980s-1990s, or yoga more recently) trainers are in high demand and often "certified" with far less experience and know-how then in the traditional contexts. (Five or so years ago, when yoga was sprouting up everywhere, I was called upon to treat several newbie yoga teachers for self-induced practice-related injuries.)

For example, back in the 1960's and1970's when psychodelic drugs swept through American youth culture, the situation was mostly unregulated (people going into it without the help of experienced "guides"). Hence many cases of young people seriously losing their bearings, and the occasional suicide.

"…And of course many people who do not meditate also improve from their psychotic breaks, so it's hard to determine causation and cure there.  And if a psychotic break (or depression or whatever) can't be clearly attributed to mindfulness, society may just assume those are just a few more isolated cases of people with various common problems that society already has and that it has nothign to do with mindfulness."

Again "society may…". There's also a strong tendency for 'society' (media, reactionary authorities,…) to search-out and exaggerate negative effects of practices, especially those of foreign origin.

Example: Cannabis usage, traditionally associated with Native Americans and Hispanics, faced stubborn opposition, going back to the 1930's (in the USA), and just now overcoming the cultural prejudice. That is compared with alcohol'sill-effects and individual / social damage on a massive scale (orders of magnitude more than due to pot) – but use of alcohol is socially / culturally ingrained, and a major industry.

Example: The use of acupuncture in the West. For decades the target of medical-quackery hawks stirring up negative press and prejudice; again, taking decades and the accumulation of a large body of scientific validation to overcome. But still, one or a couple patients are seriously damaged, or die in a year on the whole planet, and it's a major news story (USA or Europe). Compared with currently some 400,000 people in the USA alone who die due to "medical error" in the conventional medical system. (It's become the third largest cause of death, after heart disease and cancer.) This does get reported, not treated as so scandalous.

'Mindfulness', though, does not present such an extreme threat, and is framed largely as self-improvement. MBSR itself has become an institutionalized business – tightly controlled as to training, credentialing as well as pricing as standardized product.

Other areas will largely fade out just as they fad-ed in. But the problems -- of using potentially powerful mind-altering techniques largely divorced from careful guidance as inthe traditional lineages – will continue to arise, likely increasingly so, and contribute to the fading-out of the fad. The remnants becoming standard fare in the tool-boxes of efficiency experts.

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/27/15 10:17 AM as a reply to Mark.
Well, I guess we're just entering the Age of Aquarius, the Aeon of Horus or something to that effect emoticon

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/27/15 11:02 AM as a reply to CJMacie.
I've been watching the whole 'mindfulness' phenomenon unfold for the last few years. I think the idea started to plant and germinate in the zeitgeist around 2006 or 2007. I quick search on google trends shows a slow growth to the present day (2015) peaks. The graphs for both 'worldwide' and US searches look quite similar, so I don't doubt that this has global interest.

Some random thoughts:
- However people start, I am happy to see them take steps along the path. I think the benefits of even shallow practice are clear.
- It seems to be getting serious consideration from health care providers as a beneficial and preventative practice. I know friends who have taken MBSR courses through Kaiser-Permanente (large local managed care consortium). If it's seen by these companies as a 'cheap' preventative health measure, I am sure we will continue to see an upsurge in it's prescription.
- I stopped worrying or caring about people I don't know having psychotic episodes (vis a vis qi gong mania or kundalini psychosis, et al) or stumbling into dark night territory. I don't worry about total strangers getting attacked by bears either.
- I do care about the people I've encouraged to try meditation (or those who are taking MBSR, as above), and I do tell them of some of the potential pitfalls.
- I've been watching the co-opting of it from a corporate standpoint for some years now. However, I think those who have the fortitude to stick with the practice will start to feel real transformation and begin to explore the path. Those who just see it as another "tool" to be a better worker bee, if that's their bag, more power to them. Sucks, but I choose not to care about total strangers remaining wage slaves (albeit more productive ones) either.

As an aside, in the last two months I've become interested in yoga and have been going pretty frequently. I've met a lot of people at the studio in the midst of 200-hour teacher training. My opinion, through conversations and observation, is that very few have more than a little idea of what the contemplative aspects of their training are pointing at, or leading them towards.

It remains to be seen whether 'mindfulness' is going to stick around or fizzle out like the rest of these trendy 'health hobbies.' Yoga might be at a saturation point (here in SF, I can't count the number of studios [2 within just 4 blocks of my house], never mind the number of people in yoga teacher training), and meditation might be next, unless it really takes deep root in the health care field.

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/27/15 4:29 PM as a reply to Mark.
Whatever awakening is, is it something that is reducible to a conceptual scheme of a particular ideology? That is, is awakening reducible to the intellectual framework of American left identitarian politics and American therapy culture? Honestly, I was just at an IMS teacher's weekly practice group, and if I didn't know anything about meditation or Buddhism, I would essentially have been left with the conclusion that the ineviatable conclusion of awakening is the truth of the American political left's narratives of identitarian driven social justice.

Is it? I suspect awakening cannot be captured in any ideological framework, including any form of Buddhism, which means that as mindfulness expands its going to take a myriad of expressive forms for different demographics interested in awakening. Thus, we get into the talk of the unbundling and rebundling of Buddhism that Buddhist Geeks made a point of. That this mindfulness craze is the first step to meet the demand of broader demographics interested in awakening. One could think of the mindfulness fad as a sort of initial summoning of a massive egregore of awakening in its alpha stages. And since it isn't even in the beta stage it looks quite ugly. Its techniques are poor, its speech is raunchy, its aesthetic is absent. But perhaps over decades it will hit a beautiful multi-expressional stride.

Or, awakening has many outward expressions and its breaking free of hippie left and therapy culture, and its first stretches beyond that, as an egregore, are poor just like a person first practicing dance also sucks at dancing, at first.

Is awakening at odds with societal norms? I think in many ways it is. But its so dynamic and living that the question needs to be broken up into like 10 more precise questions, of which I don't know what those questions are. I simply would be hesitant to say the mindfulness fad is a bad thing beause capitalism is evil or that anything that isn't traditional Buddhism proper is impure.

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/28/15 12:00 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
Wooow what if the enlightenment that arise from dry mindfullness is a certain egregore people enter into at path moments. That could explain the brain differences of vipassana vs jhana monks emoticon my understanding of egregore: magickal hive mind. 

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/30/15 12:38 PM as a reply to Pål.
I had to google the definition of egregore before I wrote that post, but it's the word that I wanted to use. If you take a more secular wording, perhaps the idea of strong emergence could explain how large structures made up of many people can then start acting on the people with a sort of 'meta-intelligence', the egregore, because its not really a sentient being like you or me, but due to its complex structure still inhibits enough influence to direct the behavior of its collective group.

Basically, a sort of interdependence exists between the members and the egregore, which isn't a new idea, but worth mentioning because in the west there seems to be a very atomic partical like view of the self that exists with absolute sovereignty outside of systems, "I'm an individual making my own choices! Be indepedent!" When historical culture influences your entire value system anyways.

I think that's a real possibility, and would add in a lot of complexity in trying to get the bottom of the range of meditative realizations and experiences. But the brain is hyper-complex, isn't that expected?

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/30/15 1:37 PM as a reply to Mark.
Thanks for all the replies, it makes for interesting reading! Certainly some common themes/concerns. It wil lbe interesting to see how it plays out over the next years.

Unfortunately Neko was the only person who replied regarding the questions of social action. The low interest in that aspect of the post also reinforces our sample of 1 (Neko). My experience also supports Neko so we have a 100% conclusive proof here emoticon

There is something I find unsettling in what I consider to be an over-emphasis on the subjective experience in the buddhism/mindfulness I've seen. On a positive note this motivates me to explore more about the "socially constructed self". I also don't see any harm in continuing the deconstruction of subjective experience on the cushion for now - I don't feel like I'm in risk of finding an ultimate truth tomorrrow!

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/30/15 5:21 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark, without being a mind reader how can you possibly know that no one else is concerned about the social aspects of mindfulness? And Neko was such a bundle of verbiage in that one reply I'm not sure you can even say Neko cares.

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RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/30/15 7:19 PM as a reply to CJMacie.
Chris J Macie:
re: Eva M Nie (8/26/15 3:48 PM as a reply to svmonk.)
"… First, people who  have DN and whatnot often practice a TON and people who practice a ton are already a small and likely special subset of the population.  It may be less common if the general populace practices something more lightly…."

The risks should be also acknowledged. There's ample evidence that even casual exposure to ASCs (altered states of consciousness), whether by cultivation or drug-induced, can push susceptible individuals (who themselves are most often not aware of this possibility) over the edge into a psychological crisis.
I personally do not know the risks of meditating vs not meditating.  Some people have problems from mindfullness, some people seem to fix probllems from minfulness.  I can't even be sure if meditating/mindfulness is what did it, I mean one would tend to assume but it's hard to say when both the problems and the fixes don't look greatly different from problems and fixes that happen without minfulness.  I don't know if risk of danger or risk of reward is greater, that's why I have no strong opinions on any 'shoulds' that should be performed.  Of course it would be nice if there were always skilled altruistic guides for all difficult endeavors but that seems one of the less likely outcomes for the near future.   I suspect I personally would have tried to back out if I had known how difficult the path I chose was going to be, but yet now on the other end, I don't regret the choice.  
"…And of course many people who do not meditate also improve from their psychotic breaks, so it's hard to determine causation and cure there.  And if a psychotic break (or depression or whatever) can't be clearly attributed to mindfulness, society may just assume those are just a few more isolated cases of people with various common problems that society already has and that it has nothign to do with mindfulness."

Again "society may…". There's also a strong tendency for 'society' (media, reactionary authorities,…) to search-out and exaggerate negative effects of practices, especially those of foreign origin.
Sometimes society exagerates, sometimes it ignores, sometimes it misconstrues.  My response was to a statement that made it sound like society's response was somewhat certain.  My point was that maybe something else would happen.  I don't think we know what society will do, there are at least dozens of possibilities going in so many directions, probably some things that couldn't even be imagined easily.   Sometimes society is very unpredictable.  

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/30/15 7:38 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ:
I had to google the definition of egregore before I wrote that post, but it's the word that I wanted to use. If you take a more secular wording, perhaps the idea of strong emergence could explain how large structures made up of many people can then start acting on the people with a sort of 'meta-intelligence', the egregore, because its not really a sentient being like you or me, but due to its complex structure still inhibits enough influence to direct the behavior of its collective group.
Sounds similar to the concept of the morphogenic field. 

Says one muscle cell to another, "I've heard some blood cells say that there is a larger meta intelligence called 'the body' that ultimately controls us even though we think we are operating only locally, can you believe it!!"
Says the other cell, "Really?  Seems hard to believe, but if it did really exist, it could not really be a sentient being like you or me because it would be dependent on our existence.." 
-Eva


RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/30/15 8:06 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
Thanks for all the replies, it makes for interesting reading! Certainly some common themes/concerns. It wil lbe interesting to see how it plays out over the next years.

Unfortunately Neko was the only person who replied regarding the questions of social action. The low interest in that aspect of the post also reinforces our sample of 1 (Neko). My experience also supports Neko so we have a 100% conclusive proof here emoticon
Conclusive proof of what?  That mindfulness will lead to further conformity?  How many here even practive the kind of minfulness you are talkign about?  If not, how would they know if mindfulness will lead to conformity?  I couldn't say for sure myself but if I had to hazard a guess, learning more about yourself and what influences a person can lead to less mindless conformity.  But there are more ways to succeed in jobs and life than conformity.  I was better at conformity when I was younger but now I am a much better worker and bosses would probably like me more because I am a more flexible and stable person and also more efficient.  I am better at idenifying good ideas instead of letting ego and habit get in the way and I am better at adapting to change and I am less worried about responsibility.  I am also less apt to let irritating little stuff bother me as much and can keep my mind on my work better.  Plus I take better care of myself and thus am less apt to become ill.  Etc.  

I don't know if mindfulness will challenge or just adapt to currently social mores, but I'd guess it will be something like some of each.  Social mores are always changing and shifting.  I've seen a ton of change since I was a kid.  You didn't use to see almost naked women in underwear commercials on tv in prime time and the first time there was an interracial couple on tv, it was almost scandalous, so was Three's Company (unmarried unrelated male and females living under the same roof OMG!!!!)   Many kids then did not know what the word 'divorce' meant.   Things will continue to change, just hard to predict how..
There is something I find unsettling in what I consider to be an over-emphasis on the subjective experience in the buddhism/mindfulness I've seen. On a positive note this motivates me to explore more about the "socially constructed self". I also don't see any harm in continuing the deconstruction of subjective experience on the cushion for now - I don't feel like I'm in risk of finding an ultimate truth tomorrrow!
Lots of people on here do charity work, I've seen it mentioned casually plenty of times,  but IMO there is not much to discuss beyond that.  Charity work and work for the greater good is encouraged in Buddhism so there's really nothing to argue or debate there.  As for details of the work, those will be specific to the kind of work and are often more along the lines of logistics and technique concerns unique to each project, for which there are often specific boards and groups just for that work where everyone there can discuss the same things and know what eachother are talking about.  There is nothing specially Buddhist about doing good deeds, lots of people do it from atheists to all kinds of faiths, which may be way it's not discussed much here. 

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/31/15 5:19 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Mark, without being a mind reader how can you possibly know that no one else is concerned about the social aspects of mindfulness? And Neko was such a bundle of verbiage in that one reply I'm not sure you can even say Neko cares.

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I agree we can't make rational conclusions based on a sample of one. I was sort of hoping that was obvious.

Taking a step back, we can recognize that we are pretty much drawing conclusion based on insufficient data all the time. Life would be unmanageable if we did not make assumptions based on uncertain data. 

So while I'm not drawing ultimate conclusions based on this thread, it is one more data point. I have an assumption, like we do in nearly all of the decisions we make.

You are the exception that proves the rule emoticon That is not to be taken seriously. That was the second degree. Now it is not even funny.

I'm all for more people posting about the social aspects of mindfulness!

Another data point we can see on DhO is the difficulty that Daniel faces in entering into dialog with several other "enlightened" people. Raises more questions that answers.

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/31/15 5:34 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
Mark:
Thanks for all the replies, it makes for interesting reading! Certainly some common themes/concerns. It wil lbe interesting to see how it plays out over the next years.

Unfortunately Neko was the only person who replied regarding the questions of social action. The low interest in that aspect of the post also reinforces our sample of 1 (Neko). My experience also supports Neko so we have a 100% conclusive proof here emoticon
Conclusive proof of what?  That mindfulness will lead to further conformity?  How many here even practive the kind of minfulness you are talkign about?  If not, how would they know if mindfulness will lead to conformity? 


It is 100% but I did not report margin of error, in this case I'd say margin of error pretty large. I was really not expecting anyone to take that remark seriously, maybe I need to learn more about emoticons and find a "joke here" emotion.



I couldn't say for sure myself but if I had to hazard a guess, learning more about yourself and what influences a person can lead to less mindless conformity.  But there are more ways to succeed in jobs and life than conformity.  I was better at conformity when I was younger but now I am a much better worker and bosses would probably like me more because I am a more flexible and stable person and also more efficient.  I am better at idenifying good ideas instead of letting ego and habit get in the way and I am better at adapting to change and I am less worried about responsibility.  I am also less apt to let irritating little stuff bother me as much and can keep my mind on my work better.  Plus I take better care of myself and thus am less apt to become ill.  Etc.  

Wow I can see why your boss would want to pay for your mindfulness classes emoticon (half joke)


I don't know if mindfulness will challenge or just adapt to currently social mores, but I'd guess it will be something like some of each.  Social mores are always changing and shifting.  I've seen a ton of change since I was a kid.  You didn't use to see almost naked women in underwear commercials on tv in prime time and the first time there was an interracial couple on tv, it was almost scandalous, so was Three's Company (unmarried unrelated male and females living under the same roof OMG!!!!)   Many kids then did not know what the word 'divorce' meant.   Things will continue to change, just hard to predict how.



I like that first sentence: "I don't know... I'd guess ...something like ... some of each". Is that the middle path ? emoticon (joke)


There is something I find unsettling in what I consider to be an over-emphasis on the subjective experience in the buddhism/mindfulness I've seen. On a positive note this motivates me to explore more about the "socially constructed self". I also don't see any harm in continuing the deconstruction of subjective experience on the cushion for now - I don't feel like I'm in risk of finding an ultimate truth tomorrrow!
Lots of people on here do charity work, I've seen it mentioned casually plenty of times,  but IMO there is not much to discuss beyond that.  Charity work and work for the greater good is encouraged in Buddhism so there's really nothing to argue or debate there.  As for details of the work, those will be specific to the kind of work and are often more along the lines of logistics and technique concerns unique to each project, for which there are often specific boards and groups just for that work where everyone there can discuss the same things and know what eachother are talking about.  There is nothing specially Buddhist about doing good deeds, lots of people do it from atheists to all kinds of faiths, which may be way it's not discussed much here. 

If I understand you you are saying that we should just focus on discussing subjective experience on DhO - right ? Nothing to see here folks, move on back to your cushions. (That is a joke!)

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/31/15 9:08 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:

Unfortunately Neko was the only person who replied regarding the questions of social action. The low interest in that aspect of the post also reinforces our sample of 1 (Neko). My experience also supports Neko so we have a 100% conclusive proof here emoticon

emoticon

To be fair, neko's attainment is definitely not MCTB 3rd / 4th path. Possibly SE, MCTB 2nd path at best emoticon

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/31/15 10:45 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
Practises like MBSR are having a massive influence and mindfulness is a buzzword that is touching many areas of western culture like education, health care, military, corporations, sports etc.
I do not see or hear from anyone practicing mindfulness like MBSR with anyone that I come into contact with in the up close physical realm, , in fact I have only met about two people personally over the last ten years that actually practiced meditation.  And, they both only practiced rarely, and gave up anyway.  And they were practicing to enter altered mind states and checking out psychic phenomenon. And,  they both experienced some rather enlightening phenomenon. But,  I do not have interactions with them anymore due to changes in everyones lives, that has been many years past.

So, I do not , from my experience see the above statement as being true, i.e. that practices like MBSR are having a massive influence.

 Mindfulness as a buzzword touching many areas of Western culture, like education, health care, military, corporations, sports, etc.  Well, maybe.  But, my question is, Is it Right Mindfulness? Or just plain old Mindfulness.  In other words, are social groups trying to adopt a way of getting people to simply pay attention?   Simply paying attention is not Right Mindfulness, it is simply paying attention.  If that is the definition then the entire world practices mindfulness whenever we cross the road, otherwise we would be hit by a car, or a moped, or a cow, whatever the case may be.  But that is not Right Mindfulness.  Now, this is not to say that there are or are not people teaching or not teaching Right Mindfulness.  

Even with all that being said, just practicing Right Mindfulness alone and all by itself is not a full path of mental cultivation.

But, also,  Mark, look up and research Right Mindfulness for yourself, then comparee, for yourself, come to your own conclusions, if you want to. 

Also,  I will not be led down the debate road and play infinite questions with you, just to reinforce, in some form or another, identity views or social agendas. <joke> emoticon, half joke


Psi

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/31/15 10:50 AM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:

Also,  I will not be led down the debate road and play infinite questions with you, just to reinforce, in some form or another, identity views or social agendas. <joke> emoticon, half joke


Not half bad emoticon

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/31/15 11:03 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
Psi:

Also,  I will not be led down the debate road and play infinite questions with you, just to reinforce, in some form or another, identity views or social agendas. <joke> emoticon, half joke


Not half bad emoticon
Haha, it is nice to see your lighter side!  

Peace

Psi

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/31/15 11:14 AM as a reply to Mark.
With respect to the difficulty Daniel, or anyone faces with enlightened people, can be summarized nicely into this framework:

Enlightened people are still primates.

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/31/15 11:55 AM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:

Wow I can see why your boss would want to pay for your mindfulness classes emoticon (half joke)
I acdtually work for myself now.  ;-P


I like that first sentence: "I don't know... I'd guess ...something like ... some of each". Is that the middle path ? emoticon (joke)
Doesn't seem like a good idea to use an imperative knowledgeable tone when attempting to predict the future and on a subject I am not thoroughly versed. 

There is something I find unsettling in what I consider to be an over-emphasis on the subjective experience in the buddhism/mindfulness I've seen. On a positive note this motivates me to explore more about the "socially constructed self". I also don't see any harm in continuing the deconstruction of subjective experience on the cushion for now - I don't feel like I'm in risk of finding an ultimate truth tomorrrow!

If I understand you you are saying that we should just focus on discussing subjective experience on DhO - right ? Nothing to see here folks, move on back to your cushions. (That is a joke!)
You can talk about whatever you want but you sounded like you were complaining that few were discussing it here, so I gave reasons why that may be so, ie not much to discuss on the subject that is in any way special to Buddhism.  Are you now complaining that your complaint wasn't taken seriously?  ;-P
-Eva

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
8/31/15 12:05 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:


Even with all that being said, just practicing Right Mindfulness alone and all by itself is not a full path of mental cultivation.
Maybe I am a glass half full type of person but any direction that seems better and less 'wrong' or more 'right' than previously is fine with me.  It seems unlikely that the great masses will suddenly pick up and diligently practice a full course of Buddhist practice so I am not setting that as my standard.  I also don't think it's common or maybe not even possible to have a 100% right path alll the way through.  IMO, it' s a messy process of falling down, getting back up, and learning as we go.  Many motivations will not be 100% pure and free of ego, we can only go at it the best we can at any time.  If mindfulness can aid with that process more than not doing mindfulness, then I am fine with mindfulness even if it's not perfect.  If it can help people even a few percent, that's a good thing, and some may even get to where they are interested in going further.   

RE: What is going on with mindfulness ?
Answer
9/1/15 1:12 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
Psi:


Even with all that being said, just practicing Right Mindfulness alone and all by itself is not a full path of mental cultivation.
Maybe I am a glass half full type of person but any direction that seems better and less 'wrong' or more 'right' than previously is fine with me.  It seems unlikely that the great masses will suddenly pick up and diligently practice a full course of Buddhist practice so I am not setting that as my standard.  I also don't think it's common or maybe not even possible to have a 100% right path alll the way through.  IMO, it' s a messy process of falling down, getting back up, and learning as we go.  Many motivations will not be 100% pure and free of ego, we can only go at it the best we can at any time.  If mindfulness can aid with that process more than not doing mindfulness, then I am fine with mindfulness even if it's not perfect.  If it can help people even a few percent, that's a good thing, and some may even get to where they are interested in going further.   
Haha, okay , that is a fair enough assumption.  Something is better than nothing , to be sure.  

What about looking at it this way.

 If one were training in Badminton, and they were practicing to hit the shuttlecock.  And indeed, they could hit the shuttlecock, sometimes over here, sometimes over there, sometimes in the net, sometimes over the net, sometimes missing entirely.  They were perhaps taught just to just hit the shuttlecock, and wherever it landed would be just fine, as long as they were practicing.  They could even get creative and serve the shuttlecock, underhanded, overhanded, sidehanded, behind the back shots, stand on one legged shots.

So , all these people would be practicing Badminton, and deriving some benefits, agility, fitness, etc.

But, would they be practicing to actually play Badminton correctly?  In other words Right Badminton?

I know this is not the best of metaphors, and I think in English the word Right may not be the best interpretation of Samma, and maybe Mindfulness is not the best interpretation of Sati.

My other point was that Samma Sati alone, stripped of the other factors of the Path, does not seem to have as powerful of an effect as when trained in combination, this is just from my experience.  For example it takes a strong level of Samma Sati to get the Four Supreme Efforts to be initiated throughout the day, but when done results in very powerful changes.  Same as when combined with Samma Samadhi, the mind is tranquil , equanimous, and has the ability to look deeply without getting rocked and turmoiled by what would be normally considered as aversive or scary, or addictive and attractive.   I will stop here, as this tends to be viewed as dogmatism, instead of experientialism, which is understandable.  I hope I used that word right, I am not a philosopher, nor a good debater.

But, yes I agree, in a fashion, some mindfulness is better than none, and, to be sure there is always alot of falling down, forgetting to be mindful, being mindful, forgetting to be mindful, over and over, mistakes made, more mistakes made.  

But, just like Badminton, it is a Practice.

And, besides, this is nothing new to you,  you have described Samma Sati in other posts.

Rhetorical questions,  
Which allows less dukkha to form?  Mindfulness or Samma Sati?  If you are in a Bare Attention mode or PCE mode, does dukkha arise while in that mode?

Just pointing you back to your own insights, if you do not mind.  If you do I am sorry.

Psi

And, to be clear, I am not saying or claiming that Right Mindfulness is or is not being taught, either correctly or incorrectly, as I stated earlier, I do not see it being taught much anywhere in anyway.  But, my circle is small.