Too much of a good thing can easily become a bad thing.
I have not found a reason to oppose mindfulness meditation, but I also recognize—see this post--that too much meditation can produce negative consequences.
The therapeutic power of mindfulness has been widely reported and accepted. Still, a little skepticism is always a good thing.
It’s one thing to take a few minutes to rest one’s mind. It’s quite another to make clearing one’s mind a way of life.
Oxford historian Theodore Zeldin has recently issued a caution about mindfulness.
The London Telegraph explains:
Theodore Zeldin said too many people were avoiding using their brains and instead escaping into a state of blank mental oblivion.
One appreciates a nicely turned phrase: “escaping into blank mental oblivion” surely counts as one.
Zeldin believes that the mind should be engaged in thought, not in self-emptying. And he believes that instead of trying to get into our minds we ought to get into the world, the better to develop and sustain relationships with other people.
The Telegraph writes:
But Dr Zeldin said the practice was distracting people form discovering more about other people and the world around them, and encouraged them to instead seek to make new relationships with those who shared different views. He said the world needed to move away from an era of self-discovery.
“It’s important not to think just about yourself,” Dr Zeldin told the Hay Festival. “You think that trying to avoid things by doing exercises which free the mind from thought and will empty out minds.
“I think mindfulness and meditation are bad for people, I absolutely think that. People should be thinking.”
After all, you cannot engage in the marketplace of ideas all by yourself. To develop your thought you need to exchange ideas with other people.
Zeldin recommends that you look outward, not inward. He wants you to stop introspecting, stop trying to be whatever you want to be and stop engaging in voyages of self-discovery:
He said people should stop believing they could be anything they wanted to be and instead start appreciating the value of those around them.
“One of the beliefs of this time is you’ve got to be yourself and develop your own potential, but only thinking of oneself is a feeble and cowardly activity.
“Our potential on our own is very limited. We go to these motivational speakers and they say you can be anything you want to be. You can’t. Your potential is very limited.”