If Mindfulness is Separated from its Root is it Still Good for Us?
Sean Feit, Jonathan & Waylon get together and figure out the future of Dharma in the West, and how to avoid seeing “The Mindful Revolution” get co-opted by Google & friends. Conversation hosted by Google. 😉
Does mindfulness promote passivity? Is the application of mindfulness in the corporate landscape the antithesis of the teachings of Buddha?
A Critique of the “Mindfulness Revolution”:
> The secular mindfulness movement is leaving out the bulk of the Buddhist presentation of mindfulness. So, mindfulness is being used to improve productivity, but in the Buddhist sense is that a good thing? Are we losing an important part of the early teachings by abstracting one piece.
> This discussion started because of the protest at Wisdom 2.0 (activists accusing Google for promoting mindfulness while refusing to discuss gentrification in San Francisco.) Google is trumpeting their program but ignoring the other important part of mindfulness. Maybe Google needs to say that what they are promoting as mindfulness isn’t Buddhist and that’s okay.
Sean’s perspective: Mindfulness is a more radically liberating process than secular mindfulness promotes. if people actually practice, it will unravel the self (it is not a gentle practice).
For more, read Sean’s article “Mindfulness the Google Way: well-intentioned saffron-washing?”
Jonathan’s perspective: We need mindfulness more than ever.
Sean Feit (SEP, E-RYT) teaches Buddhism and Hatha Yoga with a focus on the integration of meditative practice, philosophy, and self inquiry with social justice and wise action in the world. He has practiced in Zen and Theravada Buddhist lineages, was ordained a monk in Burma, and is authorized to teach by Jack Kornfield. Other primary teachers include Alice Joanou (yoga) and Steven Hoskinson (Somatic Experiencing). Sean teaches at Yoga Tree, Yoga Garden, SF Insight and Piedmont Yoga in the SF Bay Area, and has been a guest teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, where he completed the Dedicated Practitioner’s Program and the Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation Training. Sean is a PhD candidate at UC Davis, writing on Buddhist contemplative practice and experimental dance, and lives in Oakland, enjoying a thriving community of yogis and artists.
Jonathan McKeever is a father, tinkerer, aspiring spymaster and game designer who fronts as a digital marketing professional. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area and spends his spare time trying to find communities that understand his nonsense and trying to get his “nerve sheaths” stretched out enough that he can do a downward facing dog. Do nerve sheathes really even exist? This is just one of the great questions that drive him… Or whatever. Basically he works as a Digital Marketing Consultant on the West Coast and in his spare time he designs and play “urban games” in San Francisco. He’s amazing and one of elephant’s favorite human beings. Jonathan grew up in the Shambhala community and has been chasing the dragon tail of his mind around since the age of 13 when he did his first meditation retreat.
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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: elephant journal archives