“Mindfulness has been separated from its roots, stripped of its ethical and spiritual connotations, and sold to us as a therapeutic tool,” write two psychologists in The Conversation.
“Mindfulness is presented as a technique that will have lots of positive effects – and only positive effects,” they write. “But considering that many of us rarely sit alone with our thoughts, it isn’t hard to see how this might lead to difficult thoughts and emotions rising to the surface for some people – which we may, or may not, be equipped to deal with. Yet the potential for emotional and psychological disturbance is rarely talked about by mindfulness researchers, the media, or mentioned in training courses. And here we come to an important point. Buddhist meditation was designed not to make us happier, but to radically change our sense of self and perception of the world. Given this, it is perhaps not surprising that some will experience negative effects such as dissociation, anxiety and depression. However, like the small print on medication, these ‘side-effects’ in some individuals are not what the creators of this pill are concerned with promoting.”
Mindfulness has lost its Buddhist roots, and it may not be doing you good (The Conversation, June 5, 2015)