Sunday, April 19, 2015

TODO: Mindfulness training

Just saw a Swedish documentary on the "phenomenon" of mindfulness and instead of inspiring me, it actually kind of annoyed me.

Mindfulness was portrayed as this new thing, a way to observe when we act out of judgements and habits and bend the future to achieve new things. The largest part of the documentary was about its value in leadership and other corporate functions.

On the health and wellbeing side, its effects on lowering stress were countered with notes of warning from the medical profession as many of the claims were not backed up with actual scientific knowledge. Certain people, with certain diagnosis, could even experience negative effects by practicing mindfulness, they said.

The funny thing was that the majority of the people that were interviewed who give courses, hold lectures or in any way were experts in the field of mindfulness, constantly talked about living a life in Awareness and how mindfulness opens up that possibility while, at the same time, the actual documentary focused on the activity of mindfulness as separate to the state of Awareness. Basically a miracle pill that solves all your problems but is a bit hard to swallow.

It is the typical effect you get when a headspace culture tries to wrap it head around a heartspace concept.

Mindfulness becomes the next trendy (and supposedly beneficial) thing on the agenda. Yet another event to track in your weekly obligations.

Not a single word was said about the origins and function of Awareness (and mindfulness). That living in Awareness is the most natural thing for any animal including the human animal. Nobody observed that people, when living in the wilderness, switch to a state of Awareness in about 6 to 7 days.

In short, nobody connected it back to our deepest instincts and our survival and earth living skills. Instead it is 'that new trendy thing' and you can probably download a bunch of apps to help you train it.

This whole approach negated everything they supposedly wanted to achieve. It is like making a documentary on how healthy it is to exercise between hamburgers.

It shows a willingness to act but at the same time a lack of understanding and an inability to leave the cultural pressure that caused the problems in the first place!

As you all know I am a tracker. Tracking is a human animal instinct and capability. It requires full control over the internal dialog. I define tracking as becoming mindful of connected things in your Awareness. We all have this capacity. It is embedded in our very existence. Therefor mindfulness and Awareness are central and mandatory concepts in all my courses.

In fact, all the earth living skills are connected with tracking and Awareness. In our current culture we have systematically ignored this connection. The result is that everything becomes based in science, schedules and physical skills: The physical survivalists that try to win the battle against Nature each and every day. But also the host of people who live their lives in habit and fear of judgement, making sure that every tomorrow looks exactly as all the yesterdays by hopping over today.

What annoyed me is not that the creators of the documentary apparently were not able to grasp the real intent of the subject matter but that they propagate this on to their viewers. They enact the culture that causes the problem even when the subject matter is about changing that!

Man we are really in a downward spiral here.

I do not blame all the experts that were on the show. I know from experience that it is extremely hard to get through to people on this matter. Some people are so hard wired into the rat race, so trusting of its promises and so sensitive to judgements of their peers that they simply can not let go.

Letting go,  however, is the key!

You need to let go of time, burdens, judgement, analysis, naming, preconceptions and trivia. Once you let go you can discover 'today' and the choices it gives you, living in full Awareness and a state of intuitive questioning. You will subconsciously start to unravel the concentric rings (ripples of cause and effect) around you. In other words you will start to track the solutions to the challenges that face you; you will enable the tracker that was dormant in you all this time!

My courses are in the context of earth living and tracking. Clearly I chose the wrong context because I think I could make an easier living by lecturing to business managers :-) But make no mistake about it: It is that context of earth living and tracking, our humble origins, that is the fundamental of all we still are today, manager or not.

Mindfulness is just an activity, a technique and one of many you need to master and practice to become Aware. But please please please, let it not become the new TODO in your agenda!

Because, by its very nature, you can not embed it into your 'normal' life. Life should be embedded in Awareness!

Live Deliberately (and I mean it! :-))

Peter Friebel