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Mindfulness: Sati and Karuna - Elf M. Sternberg
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Mindfulness: Sati and Karuna

While the mainstream press is still still touting mindfulness as an essential tool for your kit, there's been a very welcome wave of pushback that's dedicated to letting much of the air out of the mindfulness convoy's tires.

The loudest voices are those that claim that mindfulness strips the Buddhist tradition of mindfulness of its ethical foundations, simply adapting mindfulness as a way of calming the employees, making them more efficientr employees, and essentially co-opting what has been an essential spiritual practice into a tool of avarice.

But I suspect the recent spate of "it doesn't work" / "it's not cost effective" / "the science isn't there" articles is actually led by a counter-concern: mindfulness is most attractive to the most energetic of employees, the ones who are constantly sparking off new ideas and new projects. The biggest fear our corporate masters have is that sati will translate, as the Buddhists contend it does, into karuna: that is, that mindfulness will lead those who practice it best into the realization that most capitalism is bullshit.

The pro-mindfullness folks want employees to have just enough mindfulness to be more diligent and detail-oriented at their work, but they're deathly afraid that in the process their employees will develop compassion and an awareness of the transience of all things, and ultimately leae their corporate positions for something more fulfilling. The threat of actual mindfulness to the Gordon Geckos of the world is not to be understated.

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Current Mood: meditative
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