I will admit that seeing the title of Mindful Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Barry Boyce, recent email blast: 5 things people get wrong about mindfulness, an immediate thought came to mind, “Yeah, I can think of more than 5.”
Noticing my immediate thought, I made the decision to take a mindful pause from my day and read the article. No expectations; just to see what he says. See, I have a trigger about mindfulness which is: mindfulness in recent years has become so popular, that it’s also become very distorted. This distortion increased confusion and does harm to the good that mindfulness practice provides. Also, the distortion and perpetuated myths trigger me.
Mindfulness has become perceived as this “practice” this “thing” that we “do,” and schedule time to “do,” where we sit cross-legged on some fluffy cushion in silence for hours, even a full day, and then go brag about it to the rest of the world. The sitting on the cushion practice especially irritates me. As a mindfulness and stress consultant, I practice and teach with the value of inclusion; Mindfulness is for everyone and not dependent on form such as sitting on a cushion cross-legged. And frankly, images of mindful practice sitting on a cushion excludes people with physical disabilities such as neuropathy from diabetes to paralysis, Parkinson’s, and other physical limitations. Heck, after the birth of my kids, sitting for too long, my hips start barking and I gladly reach for a high-density foam roller. And yet, I “practice” mindfulness every day. Wherever I am. In any moment. Cushion-free. :-)
I was a subscriber to Mindful. But then with each issue, came again an image of a person sitting on a cushion; Which is an image often associated with practicing meditation. Well, until I saw Vinny Ferraro, from Mindful Schools. I was thrilled to see Vinny’s head-shot on the cover of Mindful. No cushion. Just Vinny. Just being. Taking classes with Mindful Schools and interacting with their educators and fellow mindful peers, I gave Mindful magazine a second chance. After all, don’t we all deserve a second chance? Yeah. I believe so.
And in the moment of seeing Barry’s email, all of these thoughts that you’ve just read came flooding into my awareness.
So, I took a mindful pause and purposefully read. And you know what? He’s spot on. Barry brings to our awareness common myths and misconceptions about mindfulness. He details each myth, calls out why it’s a myth, and then adds his (or Mindful Magazine’s) version of truth and reality. My only recommendation is to be mindful when using the terms “meditation” and “mindfulness” with the phrase “mindful meditation.” Clear and concise writing is essential when addressing myths to illustrate the intent because it’s not clear if he intends to use mediation and mindfulness as interchangeable terms. It looks that way, but I am not sure. Perhaps Barry will address this in his next post.
I applaud Barry and Mindful for their public efforts to bring clarity to a mucky situation. With great wisdom comes great responsibility. Sometimes that responsibility includes setting things straight. Bravo! And yeah, I look forward to tomorrow and Myth 3.
I realized a while ago that the whole point of meditation is to not need the cushion. I think I got used to it, depended on it, have an ego around it, and it becomes potentially, until I realized the point of it all: