Adapted from McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality by Ronald Purser, published by Repeater Books on 9 July 2019
Nothing goes without controversy. So is the way of humanity.
We could say that this is an essential part of the mindful view: placing oneself in a certain stillness thus allowing all that is to surface, whether it’s good, bad or neutral; whether we tend to agree or disagree with part or the whole of it. And yes, there is certainly a tendency to merchandise the concept of Mindfulness, and we can see a repeated pattern of consumerism about that process. So, let’s not be dismissive about it, as that too is part of the mindful way! But if we pay real attention to what is the essence of awareness, we will see – given a certain time and commitment – that to be mindful doesn’t mean to be passive, or to be captured in a kind of religious precept or even caught in a realm of mysticism. It is more likely a way to refine one’s intentions by perceiving certain patterns rooted in culture, education, trauma, etc, which gives a better sense of common humanity and therefore a better way to connect in community, with compassion, which ultimately may reinforce the willingness to engage actively in societal, cultural, political ventures.
At least, that is the way I have been given to experience the personal/communal journey through mindfulness.
Along the examples referred in the article, it might be useful to research the work of people like Thich Nhat Hanh and his Engaged Buddhism, or Joanna Macy, deeply invested in mindful activism, or the example from a growing number of Dharma teachers getting increasingly involved in activist display, whether the issue is gender, race, public health, climate change, in different kinds of settings, whether that reveals itself in more contained communities, teachings, or expressed in larger movements, e.g. Extinction Rebellion.
Make any sense to you?