A true spiritual project does not begin with a lie.
For a concealed leader to use the beauty and enthusiasm of young, loving people to conceal a profiteering business model they have been told nothing about -- that is one of the worst lies there is.
To use the loving heart and presence of a person who has been lied to, so that their innocent radiance conceals a sophisticated pattern of profiteering and deceit, in which people are treated not as people but as mere means to an end -- that is the worst kind of context in which to learn about meditation or yoga.
It is not enough to ask whether meditation (including mindfulness practices)
Anything potent enough to be beneficial will also carry risks.
However, Corboy suggests that when doing a risk assessment, one should examine much more than meditation/mindfulness practice.
Examine the social and economic context in which a meditation or yoga practice is offered.
Especially if they say it is free, and especially if a friend or lover insists that you participate.
Look for the business model. Who is the leader?
Does he or she devalue students' analytical thought processes, while hiring
the analytical thought processes of a PR specialist, an accountant and
an investment advisor?
A business model should be up front.
It should never be 'backstaqe' or hidden.
How do the promoters react if you ask questions about money, profit, and who
profits from offering this meditation praxis? Watch their body language.
* If they react by getting chilly huffy, accuse you of cynicism, and behave as
though you are a negative influence merely by asking about the business model--
Corboy suggests you get out of there.
Note: Skepticism and cynicism are different.
If you girlfriend or boyfriend get pissed off at you -- treat this as
a red flag. Maybe they are shills and have not told you. They may be in early stage enthusiasm and be function as shills without any awareness that they are doing this. No matter how adorable the are in other ways, this may indicate
that they will put loyalty to the meditation guru ahead of basic social honesty -- and ahead of any marriage vows.
A set up in which skepticism is equated with cynicism or 'being a hater'
is a set up that will disable your critical thinking if you remain in it for too long.
Any social setting where you are shame tripped when you ask questions about money and who makes money is likely to be a setting where
they want to instill a mood and shut down critical thinking.
This is not in your best interest.
[quote]"In the darker precincts of capitalism
,” warns Matthew B. Crawford, “things are being designed to foster disengagement, to the point of inducing a kind of autism
Consider Las Vegas. The rows of video slot machines, with their blinking dollar signs and promises of mega-jackpots, seem to offer unlimited choice and chance, but they are actually insidious traps. These slots are less likely to give big payouts than the old mechanical machines, yet their screens project the illusion of near wins.
The old levers have been replaced with push buttons, the mechanically spinning reels with video screens.
The result is that the “rate of play” has increased to over a thousand games per hour, which “makes the experience more absorbing, and hence also tends to extend the duration of play
,” Crawford writes.
Casino designers call this “player-centric” design, as if it somehow empowers gamblers, yet Crawford tells stories of how some become so absorbed that they urinate in their pants, while others impede EMTs rushing in to help heart-attack victims.
Vegas has figured out that the most valuable resource is its gamblers’ attention, but video slot machines are only an egregious example of the growing “attentional economy
One question to ask is whether mediation or mindfulness is being taught in a setting that turns us into a niche market, makes us adjust to a shitty situation rather than changing that shitty situation into a less shitty one.
Let us dare ask whether a mindfulness module peddled to us by a health care provider is part of this "attentional economy".
Corboy was asked to fill out a patient satisfaction form.
The doctor had suggested an class on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction/MBSR(trademark) taught through the HMO -- and for which Corboy would have had to pay yet another fee.
Among the list of questions on the "patient satisfaction" survey
was one query asking whether the provider had mentioned, any of the following
"educational resources" offered by the HMO -- among them, MBSR.
In other words, had that provider done a sales pitch for MBSR in the guise
of offering a "health education resource"?
Corboy had no interest in MBSR, having already learned the protocols of Zen sitting practice. With some booster shots in the form of some Vipassana retreats, both of which taught in settings that were non profit, and non corporate.
Settings where a number of the teachers were active in applying the practice
to real and festering social justice issues.
When asking whether meditation or mindfulness meditation have hazards,
here is another way to pose the question.
Will a mediation or mindfulness practice lead us to adjust
to an exploitative
world that has stressed us enough to lead our friend or a health care provider to recommend meditation?
Or will that meditation or mindfulness practice assist us to widen our horizons, both within and without, so that we recognize discontents
that are genuinely ours and alert us to the world beyond our heads and
assist us to stay steady, curious, and recognize where we are being
seduced by advertising and political messages that instill passivity and
By itself, meditation is neutral. But the way it is taught and the setting in which meditation is recommended and taught
what kind of meditators we become.
Will we learn to use meditation and mindfulness in ways that soothe us
and make us malleable, biddable, more likely to buy shit we don't need,
submit to people who are greedy.
Or willare taught meditation in a context that supports us in
becoming steady inside and with a capacity for social relatedness and
social agency in the world outside our heads.
And with an ability to investigate cravings to buy shit we do not
A lot of us are led to assume meditation/ ormindfulness practice as mood management.
We forget that social justice projects and successful revolutions
often begin with a painful mood called discontent, often discontent.
When taught in a context that is non profit rather than overtly or covertly profit driven (think of the HMO and harassed health care provider)
meditation ought to assist us not only to develop steadiness in relation to our inner worlds but also a steadiness that helps
us scrutinize the world beyond our heads.
Today, advertising and media overlap to a significant degree. As described above, health care providers may be forced by work environments to recommend/covertly advertise meditation or mindfulness praxis.
Advertising is designed to inflame our discontent and craving
so that we develop wants and cravings that are not our own -
and lead us to purchase more stuff.
Or follow fads.
A fad is based on emotion rather than evidence.
Once a fad is established it is milked by advertisers as a niche market.
First it was yoga.
I would say that meditation becomes a danger if it is turned into
a cash cow for profiteers -- and especially if a climate develops
around meditation which fosters craving rather than a steady and
curious state of mind which investigates craving -- including a
craving to purchase magazines based on mindfulness, go on fad diets,
dote on authority figures and go on expensive retreats where
Meditation is supposed to cultivate a steadiness that assists us to
investigate cravings and to notice and question social trends rather
than join those trends.
As an alternative viewpoint, here is a review The World Beyond Your Head
Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 07/14/2015 07:27AM by corboy.