I'm a huge fan of third wave psychology (I sometimes wish I'd persued it as a career), but this article presents a critique of the recent upsurge of "mindfulness" and assumptions it makes.

@xj9 @emacsen TLDR: putting yourself into trance states doesn't necessarily lead to personal development despite bringing about short term relief from stressors.

@emacsen I have both witnessed and experienced such things used to put the onus on self-care as against a reduction of unecessary stresses in the workplace ie. pile up more and more work and then throw in compulsory courses with colleagues which take place in what might have been their own time and for which they will be expected to be grateful.

@emacsen This isn't the problem of mindfulness, this is the problem of people who believe people who present mindfulness as value-neutral.

@emacsen In the Noble Eightfold Path: Right View, Right Resolve or Intention, Right Speech, Right Conduct or Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort and only then, Right Mindfulness.

@emacsen I'm actually really surprised that this article attributes mindfulness in psychiatry to Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Marsha Linehan or DBT.

Mindfulness was really effective at treating borderline personality disorder, which is otherwise very hard to treat.

But DBT was developed for people in psychiatric hospitals, who really don't have any power, as an alternative to suicide. Marketing the same techniques for workplace discomfort sends a sinister message.


@cidney @kensanata DBT isn't the only technique to come out of third wave. ACT is extremely effective. I use it for myself and have promoted it.

I agree about the possobilites of using any technique for ill.

@emacsen @kensanata @cidney As someone who finds it almost impossible to open up to therapists, I have found ACT (through the book, Getting Out of Your Mind and into Your Life) to be invaluable to my mental health.

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I found this article a little odd, seems to lack the scholarly weight that Aeon articles usually claim to have, and is more the ad hoc personal reflection of a graduate student with a buddhist family background. Anyway . . there's currently a fashion for sniping at mindfulness practices as being the new pacifying 'opium of the people', or not real (religious, on the cushion monastic) buddhism, or a diversion away from engaging with actual material trouble in the world.

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I found the intro to secular dhamma thro mindfulness practice (MBCT) greatly helped deepen my sense of what activism needs to be and do. IMO the (materialist) theory of mind present in that tradition, and skills of dealing with ‘having your buttons pushed’ by the world, need to be part of any activist’s skill-set. MBCT didn’t serve to ‘cool me out’ but rather helped tune in to the material conditions of what makes people tick, and make trouble. Invaluable for an activist.


That Guardian text seems to repeat the same simple argument over and over though, so slightly tedious. Didn't get a chance to read the Aeon piece yet.

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