If you follow the trends in the “spiritual industry” long enough, you’re bound to stumble across many articles advocating contaminated mindfulness. People will tell you that you should practice mindfulness to improve your health, to have a more successful business, and to, in general, accomplish whatever it is that your lower mind desires.
Beyond mindfulness, you’ll find that pretty much every area of spiritual and psychological endeavor is similarly corrupted. There is corporate meditation, Christian business, and violent environmentalism. There are finance-oriented affirmation groups, nearly-naked vegan spokespeople, and male-dominated churches. Everywhere, the tools of spirituality are taken and applied by Empire. We instinctively mistrust advertisements for God because they’re nearly always made by bait-and-switch operations.
No offense meant to those promoters who have not realized their practice is contaminated, of course.
On the surface, contaminated mindfulness and its peers might not seem so bad. We imagine the bait-and-switch might perhaps be noble; perhaps, if I tell them that mindfulness will make for happier employees that translate to better profits, everyone involved will discover that the bliss and joy of life is better than better profits. And perhaps that happens, sometimes. But more often, I imagine, everyone involved is going to keep on after profits and mindfulness will just become a euphemism for tactics to create dominated, docile employees.
The problem is that you can’t practice mindfulness to get a car. If you’re trying to get a car, you’re not being mindful – no, you’re spending your entire time imagining a game board where you and the car are both objects to be manipulated into proximity.
You can’t practice mindfulness for health or better business. You can only try to be more attentive and productive with regards to your agenda, which isn’t the same thing at all.
And similarly, meditation isn’t a tool you can use for acquiring. And you can’t pattern a for-profit business after Jesus. And you can’t violently oppose corporate violence, create psychological voices (affirm) that will create financial abundance without leaving you haunted, use nudity to create compassion for animals, or have a real spiritual sensibility that refuses the divine feminine. Contaminated mindfulness and its brothers are worse than making no use of our spiritual heritage at all.
All these egocentric benefits – health, financial abundance, and so forth – often arise out of legitimate effort with a spiritual practice. But, so long as you focus on benefits, you do not have a spiritual practice.
Now, I want you to practice mindfulness – honestly, I do, my friends. The reason is fairly selfish – I don’t want to spend my life journey walking home with people who are completely unconscious and reactive. I don’t want you to suffer, because then I will grieve for you.
Many of us want you to meditate for the same reason. We don’t want to be gurus, or have you believe in divinity in the form we perceive it, or anything else. We just don’t want to grieve for you, and perceiving you as we do, we must if you cling to that which will be ripped away.
If you’re endeavoring to spread compassion for animals by promoting veganism, you’re doing a good thing. But remember why you started… you don’t want to grieve for murderers and victims. Don’t corrupt your efforts by introducing publicity stunts and other things like that… lest you forget and become a creature of finance and publicity more than one seeking to reduce the suffering in the world.
Mindfulness and meditation aren’t about enlightenment or any other objects. They aren’t about happiness, even, really. If you want to be happy, I’ll tell you to practice mindfulness and meditation because that’s what I understand happiness to be. But perhaps you imagined happiness to be some comfortable, unchanging place where you’re dominant and everything is pretty. If so, I can’t tell you how to get to that place – that’s a marker on the map of contaminated mindfulness, and I’m not sure it exists.
I am sure it doesn’t matter whether your description of heaven exists, though, or whether we get there. It doesn’t matter where we travel or when we arrive. So long as the Beloved is with us, we are where we need to be and will get where we need to go – that is enough.