That was the word I gleaned from Twitter while observing the Buddhist Geeks conference (that wrapped up yesterday). Instant delight. It conveyed right away what one twitterer called “consumer Buddhism without the depth”. That may be a quote from Willoughy Britton (who was at the conference), but I’m not sure. The term “McMindfulness” may originate with Miles Neale (not speaking at the conference, so far as I know) a psychologist, but again I’m not sure. He’s interviewed here, at Shambhala SunSpace, and seemed to be on fire that day:
At this point, it’s a no-brainer: mindfulness works to reduce negative symptoms and increase wellbeing, period.
What did we think was going to happen if human beings, particularly the younger generation in the West—who are ordinarily hyper-aroused, over-stimulated, prey to a whole slew of addictions from caffeine and sugar to alcohol and pornography, whose main form of socialization is technology based, who often feel angry, depressed, marginalized and alienated, and who, as a result, act out with violence to themselves and others—were invited to take a 30 minute time-out, each and every day, from the whole ridiculous rat race we call urban life, and asked to gently turn their attention inwards, to follow their breath, to relax their bodies, to connect with their feelings, to enter into a caring relationship with themselves, to dis-identify with their obsessive thought streams and compulsive habits, and instead identify with a loving embrace with all living beings?
Willoughby Britton, a neuroscientist involved in critical and thoughtful mindfulness research, has a promising website with a lot of resources. I didn’t follow the conference closely, but eagerly await the video or podcasts from several of the sessions.
In any case, the idea that mindfulness pursued simply as a relaxation technique outside of the ethics and wisdom component — is a watered down pursuit is one that has occurred to me in the past, but I am delighted to see that several people are espousing and articulating that point of view.
The energy, even from a Twitter perspective, was apparently high at the Buddhist Geeks conference.
On the cushion, today was the first day in quite a while that I did not do a sunrise meditation. I had drunk, over the courseyesterday, some beer (home brew and domestic) and margeritas, and the predictable result was poor sleep. It didn’t occur to me to meditate last night, for some reason.