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Thread: Article: The Mindfulness Racket The evangelists of unplugging might just have another

  1. #1
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Article: The Mindfulness Racket The evangelists of unplugging might just have another

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/1...fulness-racket

    Interesting article. Some good points, but I don't exactly know how to take it.

    "The disconnectionists donít seem to have a robust political plan for addressing their concerns; itís all about small-scale individual action."

    Well, yea, that's how it works. One mind at a time; one breath at a time.

    "In other words, why we disconnect matters: We can continue in todayís mode of treating disconnection as a way to recharge and regain productivity, or we can view it as a way to sabotage the addiction tactics of the acceleration-distraction complex that is Silicon Valley."

    The author clearly doesn't understand that "mindfulness" - sitting meditation - has its roots a few thousand years back, and it doesn't require that we be addicted to Silicon Valley's toys to find it useful.

    I just get this very odd feeling reading this article that there's some sort of hostility to the idea of mindfulness, and that the author doesn't want to say what he really doesn't like about it.

    Gassho,

    Kirk

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tiwala's Avatar
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    On the other hand, sometimes, mindfulness seems like a luxury I can't afford. I just gotta be checking emails and notifications, multi-tasking etc, to get things done. I encountered this mindfullness thing with Buddhism early (around 14) so I tended to go into a mindful state and it sometimes becomes some sort of tranquilizing intoxication. Walking slow, taking time to enjoy the flowers etc, as nice as it does feel, just becomes another addiction for me.

    So for me, juggling all my responsibilities is enough exercise in mindfullness (of my responsibilities) than no gadgets meals. Well, that's just me. When I see my siblings go into some trance during dinner with their rectangular toys, I can't help but feel sad that we're losing touch.

    Gassho, Ben
    Gassho
    Ben

  3. #3
    Senior Member Entai's Avatar
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    Interesting, but it seems like writer is misinformed on several aspects of this story. The impression I get is a ridicule of mindfulness as something either naive or trendy, or a commercialized gimmick. There is a misunderstanding that mindfulness = relaxation. Unplugging, if just for a meal, etc., can be a healthy thing. However, this "real time" is only as healthy or mindful as we make it. To simply be unplugged does not mean we are being mindful...not by any stretch.

    My two cents,
    Gassho, Entai

    Entai (Bill)
    "Be kind - for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle" - Plato

  4. #4
    Hello Kirk,

    thanks for the link. I'll definitely check it out.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  5. #5
    Member Liang's Avatar
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    Kirk,

    Very interesting article thanks for sharing. What I think the author is critiquing is the current fad of mindfulness/yoga/healthy living especially in corporate culture. I went to a conference at major university on mindfulness recently and the guest speaker was a mindfulness coach from Google. There is a belief that mindfulness can improve productivity, innovation, and be a cure all for morale issues. The author rightly points out this just sells us on another product and ignores deeper questions such as social justice.

    Even though he says Zen like he doesn't mean us. Despite a uptick in popularity of Buddhism in west, real buddhist practitioners are still a rare breed. (I don't mean to say there is a standard for being buddhist, but doing yoga in pink pantsand having eastern artwork around without knowing the four noble truths is clearly not a dedicated practice). Anyways we are a very small and generally disregarded group. Our mindfulness is much more than CEOs (or even therapists!) talking about meditating. The author was definitely not thinking of zen master Bernie glassman in saying mindfulness ignores injustice or social problems. But I think being a forgotten minority is a good thing. What a nightmare it would be in Zen or even Buddhism became a widespread fad!

    I'd be interested what you guys think about Zen being a fringe minority. I live in the Bible Belt of the south, I'm sure the west coast is different.

    Gassho, Fred

  6. #6
    Senior Member Tiwala's Avatar
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    Hi Fred,

    I can't imagine Zen being practiced by the majority, actually. It doesn't even happen in its native countries with dedicated temples everywhere where zazenkais are conducted as ubiquitously as there are Sunday worship areas for Christians. Zen offers some kind of bitter medicine, with little reliance on divine intervention. I've come to the view right now that most people really prefer that kind of religion, so Zen as it's practiced in the west seems unlikely to ever become popular.

    On the other hand, I think more people practicing Zen would help impressionable people like me from sometimes feeling obsessive about this practice and everything to drop the curiosity and the possible disillusion that could arise from fantasizing. And instead just whacking Manjushri's head when he apears above the proverbial pot of the temple cook. I've got a long way to go.

    Gassho, Ben
    Last edited by Tiwala; 02-26-2014 at 01:04 PM.
    Gassho
    Ben

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