To celebrate a year of posting here is my first post again.
Like many people I live far too much inside my head, and have tried to balance this tendency through the practice of mindfulness meditation.
One problem is that I value my ability to think quite highly. After all I am a westerner and a scientist and am given over to rational pursuits.
This has meant that I meet a lot of resistance to just sitting with the breath in meditation. As a result I spend far too much time on my cushions in idle reverie, putting the world to rights, rehashing ancient wrongs or designing the perfect gizmo for something.
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The unexamined life is not worth living.
Mindfulness has gone mainstream. No longer the preserve of ancient and inscrutable oriental monks or bearded hippie weirdos, it is now being taught in schools. Several leading US companies are providing training to their workers and it is touted as the cure for many of the ills that affect modern man. Even the United States military are training their soldiers in mindfulness techniques.
Adapted from Buddhist teaching and increasingly applied to psychology and then to the mundane world, mindfulness is advertised as helping all psychological disorders from depression, where it is described as being as effective as antidepressant medication, through eating disorders and drug addiction to ADHD. Although it is less helpful for physical disorders, if you believe the newspapers and the internet, it is said to help with heart disease, cancer, lowering blood pressure, chronic pain, sleep and a myriad of other conditions. It leads to a longer life, better health and a much greater sense of wellbeing. Mindfulness boosts the immune system, leads to sporting prowess and better parenting, reduces anger and sets free creativity. The scientific evidence suggests that it is a key element in happiness.
Has mindfulness become a twenty first century panacea?
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