Nautilus

The Problem with Mindfulness

The mindfulness movement’s heavy focus on positive, health-related perks, like stress or anxiety reduction, turns meditation into a mere tool for mental hygiene.Photograph by DrewHeath / Wikicommons

Should we be mindful of how popular “mindfulness” now is? Carl Erik Fisher says we should. Fisher is a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and a practicing psychotherapist who integrates meditation in his practice, and meditates himself. But he worries some popular meditation practices, which stress salvation through a clear mind, undermine the genuine benefits of meditation. Recent studies in psychology show mindful meditation has been detrimental to practitioners.

“The overselling of mindfulness can lead to this idea that we should always be rigidly focused on what’s in front of us and our minds should be totally clear of any sort of input or. “That’s a total misrepresentation. Mindfulness doesn’t mean the eradication of thoughts, in any tradition. In any sort of basic, secular, clinical application, it just means paying attention to the present moment…Maybe we need to clarify what we mean by mindfulness before we slap it on a bunch of posters in every school and every workplace.”

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus5 min read
The Dr. Strange of the American Revolution
I ascribe the Success of our Revolution to a Galaxy,” Benjamin Rush wrote to John Adams, in 1812. He wasn’t invoking the astrological. It was commonplace then to associate a bright assembly of people with the starry band in the night sky that Chaucer
Nautilus12 min read
Why We’re Patriotic: Whether it’s our country or our football team, we need to belong.
It started with one man quietly sipping a Tom Collins in the lounge car of the Cleveland-bound train. “God bless America,” he sang, “land that I love …” It didn’t take long. Others joined in. “Stand beside her … and guide her ...” Soon the entire tra
Nautilus10 min readSelf-Improvement
Playing Video Games Makes Us Fully Human: No other media meets our emotional and social needs like electronic games.
I have an agonizing decision to make. Should I save a governing body that has never done a thing for me? It doesn’t even contain a single person from my race. The aliens of the galactic Council decided long ago that my people should not be trusted, t