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Gemma Sandwell, Bsc.Hons.

Mindfulness Teacher & Chief Happiness Officer

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My Response to the Mindfulness Conspiracy

Updated: Jun 23, 2019

This blog is written in response to the Guardian article ‘The Mindfulness conspiracy’ https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jun/14/the-mindfulness-conspiracy-capitalist-spirituality?fbclid=IwAR0ZZfVugxnfetBTV3051qXzqqCWarlbNcxkz84MBdP0q0EvIq_cNGOK62U and hopefully conveys my views in a way that will help people think differently about this as the results of this article could actually be quite damaging to society itself in my opinion.


If this article was true then I would not be sat here right now writing this response. I feel that it is the right thing to do and would not be true to my values not to say something.

My take on the article is that it’s saying that Mindfulness is a conspiracy as it only helps people cope it doesn’t change the world. ‘anything that offers success in our unjust society without trying to change it is not revolutionary – it just helps people cope’


I could not disagree with this statement more. You can be mindful and still stand up for what you believe in, if something is against your values make a stand and especially if something is unkind or unjust, it would be against the principles of kindness that comes with mindfulness not to have a say and to make changes. As we know from the definition of Mindfulness which is also mentioned in this article from Jon Kabat Zinn ‘ Paying attention in the present moment non-judgementally’. Just because you are non-judgemental does not mean you resign from it, it means you are able to take a step back and act logically, reasonably rather than emotionally reacting to things that go on…which of course have and always will make things worse in society! It’s about focusing your energy on causes you can make an impact on, prioritising and not just kicking off about everything at the sake of your own energy and self-care.


The non-judgement element for me also means kindness, if we are being truly non-judgemental then we are being kind to ourselves and others. Being kind has huge power to radically shift the frameworks which shape how we live. Kindness literally transforms us. We know this through science, social connection and kindness creates chemicals such an oxytocin in our bodies which not only creates wonderful benefits for our resilience and health but actually creates more resources for us to use in our body and brain, hence more energy to fight good causes than before!


This is only scratching the surface too in terms of the changes Mindfulness can create. Stats show that mental health costs the UK tax payers £70 billion a year and with costs to businesses also stacking up paying sick pay for those unable to come to work. I have written about this in my blog ‘Mental Health could we do more?’.


Even if Mindfulness simply ‘helped us cope’ this would have a huge impact on the economy just in itself, imagine a world where people could cope, could get back to work sooner, be able to support themselves and their families and friends through difficult life changes or be even more resilient at the start so they don’t need time off work (helping the economy) and feel less pain and suffering as a result. We would have less presenteeism too as people would be more focused when they are at work rather than just showing up. More open to taking about what is really going on for them and more workplaces accepting things just as they are with no judgement so people would feel less fear about being themselves in the workplace.


Mindfulness may still be a bit of a buzz word and from my previous blogs may not always be thought about in the right or most kindest way but in my view its still very much not mainstream and people still don’t know what it is and how it can help and with so many people I speak to struggling and unable to even start as a practice, how does now slating it in articles like this now benefit society?


I personally have been able to ask myself through Mindfulness what the facts are in a situation and react logically rather than emotionally in situations, making sure I am not overthinking but actually spending energy where its needed and also act on compassion and kindness in a world that needs it and this may mean challenging society.


In fact I am normally quite an introverted person, Mindfulness has helped me deal with anxiety so I can get out of my shell enough to challenge the norm and to stand up for what I believe in and help others to do the same. Which I strongly believe creates social change.


What do you think?


I would love to know what your response is?


Gemma


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