I began meditation 30 years ago in 1984 as part of my journey towards wholeness, before becoming a meditation teacher in 1992. This was before “Mindfulness Meditation” became a popular and trendy practice adopted by political, commercial and business entrepreneurs as a training tool for their organizations, as it is now. On this journey I encountered many spiritual delusions, as well as fraudulent teachers. Reaching my current level of clarity has involved far more than simply following a twenty minute daily practice of “present moment awareness.” It has meant examining my life and lifestyle, my relationships and my unhealthy habits and making the necessary changes along the way. Many of these changes caused major career moves and eventually a whole new perspective on life that has completely changed what I am; in short a lifetimes experiential learning.
As I observe Mindfulness Meditation practice developing into a worldwide phenomenon and fast becoming a multi-million dollar business, I feel concerned that a sacred practice designed to encourage self honesty, integrity and a deeper connection to the “real” self is being diluted and turned into a superficial quick fix and panacea for all ills.
Our UK parliament in London holds regular mindfulness sessions and down the road in the Financial Sector training in mindfulness is on-going in the hope of increasing employees’ ability to do their job thus increasing profits. But will it actually affect or change any policies or decisions, which through lack of insight, a holistic approach or because focus is given to bottom line profits instead, causes wars, inequality and economic enslavement?
In a world where bloody violence and rampant greed still hold sway rendering millions into brutal suffering and poverty something a little more radical than a daily twenty minutes mindfulness meditation practice is urgently needed. Anyone who seriously thinks their life will be radically altered by such a superficial approach without also addressing the bigger issues is naïve.
That is not to say that mindfulness is not a good place to start but it is baby steps only and in the wrong hands can turn what was originally meant to be a sacred lifetimes practice into a shallow and predictable delusion at best and a tool for continuing silent complicity to a dysfunctional system built on lies, greed and power at worst.
Meditation used regularly and with integrity with the intention of changing untruthful mind programmes instilled through an education system designed for compliant obedient economic slaves over many years; may eventually bear fruit. But if ones intention is merely to attain a calmer clearer state of mind whilst still indulging in self delusion about the real motivation behind ones actions then little will change.
And isn’t it radical change that is really needed and not superficial and trendy techniques?
“In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.” Thich Nhat Hanh