Mindfulness

18 Nov

I was looking at an issue of Adbusters that makes several mentions of buddhism and wondering about the many ways in which it’s been instrumentalized. Buddhism is largely institutionalized and often conservative. Can we divorce the practice of mindfulness from the historical weight of buddhism and its purport as an institutionalized religion? How can we make the practice ours without either engaging in acts of cultural appropriation or becoming part of a religious system which we do not necessarily support? At this point I cannot provide a definite answer or outline exactly what problems this question entails.

The Occupy movement uses mindfulness meditation in order to practice being present, and that is also the type of practice which I engage in. I want to learn to see things clearly and not be constantly blinded by my own constructions or the reactions of others around me. I want to be able to sit and just sit, to be in a fundamental way that is not defined by my actions. Sometimes your own sense of presence becomes part of larger presence, your sense of self dissolves and integrates your surroundings. This teaches you that you involve more than what lies beneath the surface of your skin, that there is no clear separation between you and the world, and this is an important insight.

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