Are You Practising McMindfulness?

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The term McMindfulness was coined by Miles Neale. McMindfulness is described as a feeding frenzy of spiritual practices that provide immediate nutrition but no long-term sustenance. McMindfulness also points to how mindfulness has been commercialised into a modern quick fix to our stress and unhappiness. It’s also used as a technique to help people achieve more in life, whether it’s money, career success, or health. Companies may even run mindfulness workshops as a way to increase productivity and performance. Mindfulness has also been taught in militaries to enhance a soldier’s ability during training and in war theatres.

Mindfulness is not strictly Buddhist

Those who take up mindfulness for all of the purposes mentioned are practicing McMindfulness, or wrong mindfulness. Most people get interested in secular mindfulness because it comes without the Buddhist jargon and is not related to religions. But mindfulness has been taken out of its context. You cannot call a slice of a chicken pie the whole pie, it is only part of the pie. Mindfulness is not strictly a product of Buddhism, it is also found in Christianity, Hinduism, Taoism, and Islam. All religions, when understood properly with contemplation and practice are really about the science of the mind.

Five mental qualities that cloud the mind

Our mind, by nature, without being clouded by thoughts, is really bright, awake, and has a loving quality about it. In our daily life, our thoughts consist of worry, agitation, sensuality, doubt, and sloth. Our attention is very much drawn to these five mental qualities. This is taught in Buddhism but seldom shared in secular courses. It is not religious. We only need to look at our own minds to see if this is true or not.

We may practice mindfulness to gain something such as a better career. It can help our minds stay quiet for a while, but agitation will arise when we don’t get our way. In secular mindfulness, we are taught to take a breath to pause when stress arises. After calming down, we may continue with what we are doing. Utilising mindfulness in this manner provides short-term but not sustained relief, or happiness. When the person fails to get what he or she wants in their career, they may stop practicing mindfulness altogether. If they don’t get what they want, they think that mindfulness doesn’t work. If they get what they want, then mindfulness has done its job. In their practice, they have been engaging in worry and agitation in order to gain something from mindfulness.

McMindulness does not lead to a glimpse of your natural mind

McMindfulness practice is about gaining something. Mindfulness is about letting go. Letting go of our worry, agitation, sloth, doubt, and sensual desires bit by bit to see the natural mind. The mind is like the movie screen, while our perception, feelings, and thoughts colour the movie screen. We become absorbed by the images on the screen, forgetting we are the screen.

When we are able to catch a glimpse of our natural mind, many of our stresses drop away. It’s because we realise all of the stress is self-created. And its accompanying negativity is caused by our endless wanting things to be our way when it is impossible.

Life is like a dream

Does that mean someone who catches a glimpse of his or her nature of mind becomes someone dead when alive or a doormat? No, not at all! The natural mind is not burdened by worry, agitation, sensual desire, doubt, and sloth, but it is wakeful and has clarity. It understands that it is not the activities that are the cause of all of these murky mind states, but rather, the narrow wanting mind with its fixated attention or scattered attention that is causing the negative qualities.

A clear mind also knows that engaging in manipulation, power play, greed, and whatever you can think of that causes unhappiness, politics, and war, cannot sustain happiness and it will always be clouded. McMindfulness does not include virtue as part of the practice – virtues such as being generous and not taking others’ possessions are supports for mindfulness. It gives the mind clarity and the heart a clear conscience. Without virtue, meditation, and mindfulness, our minds are clouded, as if we are living in a dream, living an insignificant life, never really paying attention to what matters in our daily lives. As a result of that, what will come to mind on our deathbed?

Death is a topic we very much avoid, but yet it is a reality. In fact, what do you think about, or do you even know what you are thinking about when you go to bed every night and when you wake up every morning? Imagine sleep as a subtle form of daily death.

How Mindful Breath can help?

At Mindful Breath, we offer corporate and 1-to-1 mindfulness training not to help our participants get something. We would like to help our participants understand the workings of their minds so that one day, hopefully, they can catch a glimpse of the natural state of their minds and experience its open quality of love and clarity. We also offer free meditation, but it’s not for beginners, it’s not for the curious. It’s for those who are really looking for something deep, for those who want to understand their minds. The 8-week mindfulness course is really to help you get into the habit of practice. While the free meditation course is for those who wish to go deeper beyond the 8-weeks, or for those, where the 8-weeks course is too general.

My friends told me free courses don’t work because no one takes them seriously. It is very true that people may not turn up. But you see, even for corporate mindfulness, not everyone takes it seriously and people compare prices to decide which course to take up, as opposed to really knowing the teacher and the course offerings. So I hope the free meditation course is helpful for those who are already attending it and if it really means something to you and if it has been helpful, please donate to Mindful Breath via Patreon.

Mindful Breath

Mindful Breath is committed to sharing the systematic training of mindfulness with anyone who is keen and open to exploring their relationship with their inner experience for better health and caring relationships towards a gentler and friendlier society.

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