Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Is Minfulness about Reconciling the Mind/Body Divide?

Mindfulness is an elusive concept. Much is made of it in the Zen Buddhist tradition. The practice starts with paying attention to the present time, often body sensations or your breath. The idea is to be aware of what’s going on. Yet, it is not thinking that you’re expected to do. It is being. Awareness is being. As soon as you starting thinking, you’re not aware.

But, if you have to think, it’s best to be aware of what you’re thinking. Awareness has to come at all levels, body and mind.

Makes me wonder if mindfulness is all about purging the mind/body divide. It is not as easy as it sounds though. The human brain has this remarkable power for meta thinking. That is, thinking that you’re thinking. As soon as you start meta thinking, the awareness is gone. But then, meta thinking can be being too.

The second thing we must fight is the autopilot. The human brain also has a remarkable ability to go on an autopilot. To think without being aware of it.

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