When Jon Kabat-Zinn introduced the term "mindfulness" to the general public a few decades ago, he was attempting to incorporate Buddhist meditation practices with modern medical psychology and medicine. Kabat-Zinn's ideas were intriguing and effective, especially given the rather conservative setting in which he was applying his advice.
But we're a long way from Full Catastrophe Living. And the mindfulness movement is far removed from Kabat-Zinn's original ideas on the subject. Frankly, when most people use the term "mindfulness" today, it means next to nothing.
Here's the unglamorous truth about the mindfulness movement that most of us don't want to acknowledge: If we objectively watch our thoughts - and don't emotionally intercede with them - we'll probably observe ourselves having the same cycles of good thoughts and bad thoughts, repeating themselves again and again. If we meditate in such a way - without attempting to refine our thoughts, and instead simply letting them "be" - we'll often notice the same emotional cycles of our thinking recurring over the course of many months, and sometimes even years. Objective, nonjudgmental meditation makes us quite aware of this. Our specific thoughts will change - but we'll still usually have the same up and down emotional cycles within our thinking, regardless of the specific thoughts.
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