“Leveraging Mindful Practices To Maximize Productivity”, reads a Forbes headline from last week.
“Using mindfulness to overcome financial stress”, reads another headline published a few days ago by Financy.
“The impact of mindfulness on businesses in the work from home era”, reads another by Business Review from last week.
Over the last few years we’ve seen a surge in the forceful mainstreaming of so-called mindfulness practices, a westernized iteration of various eastern meditative traditions emphasizing non-judgemental present-moment awareness which can, as a side effect, reduce stress levels. If you look at the headlines above, it’s not hard to see toward what end these practices are being promoted.
The way mindfulness is being so aggressively prescribed as a means to relieve the soul-crushing stress of meaningless labor under a meaningless system has been discussed at length in Ronald Purser’s 2019 book “
The sticking point here is that mindfulness, like literally every other spiritual practice that has ever existed, can be used to psychologically compartmentalize away from certain aspects of reality. Bringing awareness to the present moment can indeed take mental energy away from stress-inducing impotent thought patterns, but it can also take attention away from real problems which should in fact be dealt with at some point: the fact that you are in an abusive marriage. The fact that you are in an abusive workplace. The fact that the working class is in an abusive relationship with the ruling class.
Hang out in spiritual circles long enough and you’ll realize that most of the people who frequent them are using spirituality to run away from themselves. Using spirituality as stress management instead of addressing the inherently stressful living situation they’ve found themselves in. Using spirituality to give themselves a few nice feelings here and there to escape from the unpleasant reality that all their close interpersonal relationships since birth have been with malignant narcissists. Using spirituality to give themselves a nice story about going to Heaven when they die to comfort themselves through the suffering caused by early childhood trauma.
This is false spirituality, and it comprises the overwhelming majority of what’s out there, whether you’re talking about personal spirituality, New Age/spiritual-but-not-religious spirituality,