Mindfulness is the way to peace and wellbeing in these times. Or is it just a temporary palliative and another New Age fad that fails to address the fundamental cause of pain and discontent in every man and woman? I’m not a religionist but, to me, the idea that Buddha was referring to as ‘mindfulness’ is the deathless state within the body. The realisation of this state is complete as an absence of thought, imagination or visualisation; it leaves no space for interpretation by the mind. Few ever succeed in realising this because the subconscious barrier to the state of mindfulness is the mind itself, fuelled by the virulent energies of the emotions that assail an individual when the search for truth becomes the main focus of the life.
Although ‘mindfulness’ is an out-dated expression for these times, the state it implies has never changed. But whenever anything with a spiritual association enters the public domain, it’s inevitably presented in a watered-down version. In the West the approach to spiritual truth is to formulate a circuitous route that avoids direct confrontation with the source of its own unhappiness – hence the plethora of therapies and teachings utilising psychic energy as a substitute for the direct experience of reality. The reason for this is to satisfy the insatiable demand for doing instead of being. People love to be busy in activity, such as repeating a mantra a thousand times or practising mindfulness because it’s spiritually fashionable. The emotional self escapes detection when following traditional beliefs or engaged in any form of therapy.
There is much emphasis on ‘living in the moment’ in the practice of mindfulness. But I wonder if people are really getting the idea of what this involves. The secret of the moment is its reality as an oscillating point of consciousness deep within the brain; its speed or resonance determines an individual’s perception of the moment. When directly connected to the reality point there is no doubt as to the immediacy of the present and the tremendous sense of liberation and impersonal love. Everybody at one time or another enters the state of mindfulness, no matter how fleetingly; and always it is with the same astonishing impact of immediacy and grace. This is true mindfulness beyond time and reason. The difficulty is that the mind, unless prepared, will be unable to rest in the state of neutrality and will begin to think, get agitated or reflect on something from the past.
It takes a tremendous commitment as a way of life to detach from the hypnotic pull of the human mind. A therapeutic session or two is not the solution, nor is meditation for two hours a day. Being in the moment is to bring that potential of harmony and rightness into the actuality of the world. Without the practical attention of getting the circumstances in order in the external life, the inner descent back through the emotional self will be difficult. However, there is no doubt that there are benefits in the way mindfulness is practised by many people around the world. Every teaching and therapy has its value for someone somewhere as deepening anxiety continues to affect all but the most insensitive. It’s little wonder that many people are now desperately turning to any method that promises to take some of the strain out of their daily existence. But I suspect that the modern phenomenon of mindfulness will be superseded once the media and society at large gets bored with ‘living in the moment’ and hankers after something new and more exciting.