Much is made these days of the concept of “mindfulness”. It is the cure-all of the new age. Depressed? Mindfulness of your moods, letting go, will cure you. Poverty, illness, famine, death, disease will all bow to the mindful modern man.
To a large extent it is wishful thinking. Mind-less bollox, if you will pardon my vulgarity.
I was much captured by the concept as part of my endless search for answers some 20 years ago. The original Buddhist texts, the Tao, Zen and the whole gamut of wishful thinking captivated me. I was about to be transported to Nirvana. Except I wasn’t.
There is nothing wrong per se with mindfulness but to imagine it will raise a victorious flag over the flaws and imperfections of a disastrous genetic inheritance is pure nonsense.
Mindfulness does have it place. I try to be aware of my moods and my behavior. I try to correct and govern my worst excesses. I know that poverty, cruelty, disease are wrong; I mean well and would like to eradicate them. I know that racial and any other form of prejudice against the rest of the poor sods on planet earth is wrong.
Despite my intense irritation with the busybodies and mealy mouthed fools who push political correctness, they are right in part and I do my very best to embrace brown, yellow, gay, red, blue, whatever it is I am supposed to welcome as “diversity”.
And yet despite heroic efforts I can not alter the very bedrock of my personality. I can not help my intense irritability and frequent bad moods. I can not help my obsessions with the supposed wrong doings of others when all I have to do is ignore them and mind my own business.
I can not rid myself of sometimes overwhelming depression by being mindful of it. Bollox. It just doesn’t work.
I would like to be better, kinder, more enthusiastic, more successful, less curmudgeonly. I would like to save the world, be a light unto the gentiles, lead the rest of my days wandering the paths of righteousness. But I won’t.
I was born with a certain physiology and there is only so much I can do to moderate it. I might try magic mushrooms or the latest unction promoted by the press but in the end utopia can only be achieved if we can change our very nature.
Until such time I will not listen to some foolish though well meaning clown who tells me that mindfulness will save the universe. It will not.