Fire

What is this love? This burning.. fiery love, that I have been so privileged to experience. What is this passion? This fire inside me.. ignited by your presence. What is this pain? This feeling of ache that suppresses my soul. Why do I succumb to it? Where do I go? I’m afraid of experiencing this love. I’m afraid of seeing this love as it really is. Is it love? Or am I blinded? Have I blinded myself? Am I confused? Am I lost? Do I need to take the rose-colored glasses off? I want to feel your presence because I get high off your touch. I get high off your love. You take me to cloud 9.. and then back to 81. I want to feel your love for me.. I want to experience intensity. I’m done being scared and I’m done playing small because I’ve decided that I want it all. I want to take risks but I fear messing up, so sometimes I preserve my fantasies of our love. I want to experience everything you ever had because the love inside me is screaming for the past. I want to search, I want to discover. I want to know you like no other. I yearn for your touch and I long for your kiss. I know I don’t need you but I do need it. Something about the fire we make just can’t be extinguished.. because when I look at you, I see all my dreams wished. I wonder if you feel the same.. or are you to leave me, lost in my pain? Because if you are, go now.. but if not, come closer. I want to know that your heart is where my home is. 

Love?

Today.. I realized I don’t really know what love is. I’m clueless. I wouldn’t know love if you slapped me in the face with it. I’ve always gotten lost in my lusts and desires; unsure of where I was headed.. high off the heat of the moment.. until it stopped. Then I’d get bored and disappear. I guess I was trying to fill a void. I’ve always been terrified of my feelings. I’ve never known what they are and I’ve always feared getting hurt. I didn’t know how to show my feelings and I didn’t know how to express my love. And now, it all feels a little bit too late. I feel like I’m stuck in a time capsule, high off memories and lost in my dreams. But I feel safe up there… I feel safe in my mind.. living in my fantasies. They always felt real, but I guess they never were. As long as I can remember, I’ve felt like an outsider.. and I’ve felt like the underdog. I’ve locked myself in Pandora’s Box.. full of all my demons. Sometimes I can’t tell the difference. I thought I loved you when I just wanted to satisfy my desires.. how selfish of me.

The truth is, though, I do love you. and that scares me.

333

Selah Marley

Professor Bradley Lewis

Mindfulness and Mysticism

December 17, 2017

 

Mindfulness and Mysticism

There is a difference between mysticism and religion. As Karl Marx once said, “Man makes religion, religion does not make man”. It is commonly forgotten that mysticism and religion are not one and the same. While religion does hold mystical qualities at its core, it provides one with a set of standards, moral codes, and rules to follow. Mysticism, on the contrary, cannot be defined. As humans, we like to confine it with words like “meditation” and “spirituality;” when truly, mysticism is the practice of “coming home to yourself” (Kabat-Zinn), while mindfulness is “the art of living” (Kabat-Zinn 33). These days, the lines between spirituality and religion have been blurred and we forget that one does not need religion to come close to God. Mystical experience goes beyond (should not be equated with) religious experience—it is also important in philosophy, politics, and the arts.

Because the difference between spiritualty and religion has been obscured, people often forget that one can have a mystical experience without any attachment to religion. This attachment has been derived from sheer laziness and the desire to have the answers without wanting to go look for them. Religion is of assistance to that sort of individual because it lays the rules out for you, with things like “The Ten Commandments,” for example, which presents you with a list of what and what not to do as a righteous Christian. However, like Sigmund Freud said, “Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.” While religion does make it easy for those who are looking to find themselves, to find themselves; it puts you on a leash. As soon as you subscribe to a religion, you put yourself in a box that you cannot step outside of—unless you choose to no longer follow that religion.

This idea, specifically, is what causes the problem with religion. It is a box. “Traditions that we now classify as ‘religions’ have always provided a means of controlling the thought-processes of people” (Carette 6). With the power given to religions, they are able to control the mindsets of civilizations. Thinking back on a time when Church and State were united, societies of people were subjected to religious persecution for defiance, e.g. The Pilgrims who fled from the Church of England. This notion of Church and State not only creates “the box;” but also ensures that you stay in it, because if the Church creates the rules and the State enforces them, you are not free. You are bound and subject to rules, morals, and standards created out of someone else’s best interest.

But, isn’t mindfulness all about finding your best interest? While religion gives guidance, it is not necessary for ascension. Just because one is not religious, does not mean they are not conscious. For example, just because is not parked in a garage does not subtract it from being a car. Religion is a tool, not a crutch. With that being said, religion and politics are two separate entities. In order to merge it, religion must be within politics; but if you title it “religion,” it can no longer exist within the same bubble because it must have its own. “There is no essence or definitive meaning to terms like spirituality or religion” (Carette 3). Carette states this in her article, Selling Spirituality to show that religion, and specifically spirituality, is something that exists within; a theme that we’ve seen repeatedly, just spoken in a different tongue. As stated in the Holy Bible, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (Consiglio 1). This statement is so powerful because only you know what is right for you, as you exist within your own temple and only you know what is occurring. Therefore, although religion may help; everyone must decide for themselves where their path should lead. Your life cannot be lived for you unless you relinquish your power.

Being as though every person has their own religion and every spirit must guide itself, there should be no surprise of the importance of mysticism in philosophy, politics, and the arts! Christophe André even discusses mindfulness in his article, Mindfulness Through Art explaining its definition and applying it to several paintings, “Mindfulness means intensifying our presence to the moment, stilling ourselves to absorb it, instead of escaping it or trying to alter it, through thought or action ” (18). Kabat-Zinn honors this exact same practice in his book Full Catastrophe Living as “actively tuning in to each moment in an effort to remain awake and aware from one moment to the next” (Kabat-Zinn 6). Evidently, mindfulness is an art that can be applied in any moment; not just meditation, but one can even take that practice and apply it to their craft, their thought process, and their entire being. Kabat-Zinn refers to it as “the art of living” (Kabat-Zinn 33).

The beauty of applying mindfulness and mysticism to one’s craft is that it brings advancement in both character and craft. As Jean Robertson and Craig McDaniel put it in their book, Themes of Contemporary Art, “the incorporation of ritual, ceremony, and other forms of highly patterned behavior into the practice of art can bestow the artist the role of high priest or shaman” (332). Both Robertson and McDaniel confirm that mindfulness is more than a practice, but a state of being that is used to develop and expand you. The fact of the matter is that mindfulness and mysticism is an individual matter, and it does not apply to art, politics, or philosophy, if it does not apply to that person. It is as important in philosophy as it is to the philosopher.

As follows, many artists and activists not only incorporate mindfulness into their craft, but ensure that they practice “mindful meditation” (Kabat-Zinn 6) in its entirety as well. Joanna Macy examines several different types of meditations, specifically for activists, but can be used in meditation. She discusses meditation on death, loving kindness, compassion, mutual power, and mutual recognition—similar to Kabat-Zinn’s “seven foundational attitudinal elements of mindfulness practice” (30). Some of which are letting go, compassion, and loving-kindness. Again, Macy and Kabat-Zinn are making similar claims, but in different manners. Donald Rothberg continues this pattern in his article Buddhism and Social Transformation quoting, “the essence of nonviolence is Love” (164), similar to Thomas Merton who states, “only the Spirit acts in pure Love” (66).

Across the board, there are direct parallels at the essence of each text. While mysticism is an individual experience, there is undoubtedly a fundamental core at the heart of each text. While the Christian refers to it as God and the Hindu as Krishna, both parties believe in mindfulness, meditation, and LOVE. There is always a common advocacy for love, at the root of every religion and every belief. Although we may disagree culturally, at the core of every person is a heart. We are here to Love, not judge. As we are all one, existing within this pool of “interconnectedness” (Kabat-Zinn 187), there is no room for separation. As Rothberg states, “Spiritual ignorance is understood most basically as the deep (and generally unconscious) belief or assumption that there is a separate, independent self and separate, independent others” (167).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

André, Christophe. Mindfulness: 25 Ways to Live in the Moment through Art. London: Rider Bourn, 2014. Print.

Carette, Jeremy, and Richard King. Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion. London: Routledge, 2004. Print.

Freud, Sigmund. New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. N.p.: n.p., 1933. Print.

Macy, Joanna. World as Lover, World as Self. Berkeley: Parallax, 2007. Print.

Marx, Karl. A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. N.p.: n.p., 1843. Print.

Robertson, Jean, and Craig McDaniel. Themes of Contemporary Art. New York: Oxford, 2013. Print.

Rothberg, Donald. Awakening for All Beings. N.p.: Syracuse UP, 2001. Print.

Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Full Catastrophe Living: How to Cope with Stress, Pain and Illness Using Mindfulness Meditation. London: Piatkus, 2013. Print.

Merton, Thomas. Thomas Merton: Essential Writings. New York: Orbis, 2000. Print.

 

222

Selah Marley

Professor Bradley Lewis

Mindfulness and Mysticism

November 8, 2016

 

Mindfulness and Mysticism

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a six-week program founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn that teaches one “how to cope with stress, pain, and illness” (Kabat-Zinn) with a meditation practice Kabat-Zinn refers to as mindfulness. Along with this program, Kabat-Zinn released a book titled Full Catastrophe Living—a mindfulness manual, which gives not only the basis for mindfulness, but explains what it is, why it works, and how it works with countless testimonials and unlimited scientific reasoning. Although Kabat-Zinn denies the existence of “mystical hocus-pocus” (Kabat-Zinn 7) in MBSR, he actually reinforces many of the elements presented in mystical texts. From the perspective of participatory spirituality, mystical writings from Buddhist, Hindu, and Christian traditions may be used to enhance MBSR and deepen what Kabat-Zinn calls “glimpses of wholeness, delusions of separateness.”

Not only does Kabat-Zinn harness many of the same ideologies that are presented in mystical texts, but also the practice. Kabat-Zinn teaches us about the practice of mindful meditation, which he qualifies as “actively tuning in to each moment in an effort to remain awake and aware from one moment to the next” (Kabat-Zinn 6) with one’s “eyes closed, sitting quietly, or lying motionless on the floor” (Kabat-Zinn 6). Interestingly enough, in the Christian mystical texts, this is referred to as “contemplative prayer” (Consiglio 7) where we “make ourselves aware of the fact that we are breathing” (Consiglio 18), and “being present to the Spirit who is already present to us” (Consiglio 18). Even Thomas Merton encourages meditation through silence and prayer, but is quick to distinguish what type of silence is beneficial for our growth. “Positive silence pulls us together and makes us realize who we are, who we might be, and the distance between these two” (Merton 73). All around the world, we see a call for meditation and inner peace; not to mention, Thich Nhat Hahn who praises “the full awareness of breathing” (Hahn 10) and refers to it as the practice of “The Four Establishments of Mindfulness” (Hahn 10).

All of these authors define meditation as a practice of breathing and awareness of the present moment and are sure to differentiate that from that of “a chronic state of unawareness” (Kabat-Zinn 12) where “considerable amounts of your time and energy are expended in clinging to memories, being absorbed in reverie, and regretting things that have already happened and are over” (Kabat-Zinn 10), an “inner busyness” (Kabat-Zinn 10). This is actually referenced in The Cloud of Knowing as “its [contemplative prayer] counterfeits such as daydreaming, fantasizing, or subtle reasoning” (McGinn 265).

Synthesizing all these texts, it is clear to see that meditation is a common practice around the world. Although, it is titled differently by different religions and cultures, the practice remains the same. It is a quieting of the mind and a presence of the moment—something that is cherished across cultures. Personally, I’ve found with the help of my own personal practice and studies that a quiet mind leads to success and inner peace; a quality promoted by Kabat-Zinn and enhanced by the mystical texts. While Kabat-Zinn focuses on the psychological improvements, authors like Merton and Hahn open the door for mystical experiences and connection with the Divine. Although Kabat-Zinn shies away from this aspect of mindfulness to capture his readers, reading these mystical texts heightens where one can take themselves in such a state.

To successfully practice mindfulness, one must be able to accept and let go. Kabat-Zinn states that “healing is coming to terms with things as they are” (Kabat-Zinn 27) and “letting go is a way of letting things be, of accepting things as they are” (Kabat-Zinn 30)—two of the “seven foundational attitudinal elements of mindfulness practice” (Kabat-Zinn 30). Merton refers to this as “self-abandonment […] that continual forgetfulness of self which leaves the soul free to eternally love God, untroubled by those fears, reflections, regrets, and anxieties which the care of one’s own perfection and salvation gives” (Merton 68). In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna countlessly notes the importance of “detachment” (Mitchell 95) stating “[Arjuna’s] sorrow is sheer delusion. Wise men do not grieve for the dead or for the living” (Mitchell 47). In The Cloud of Unknowing, there is mention of “the cloud of forgetting” (McGinn 266) that tells us “to concern yourself with no creature whether material or spiritual nor with their situation and doings whether good or ill” (McGinn 266). All of these texts remain consistent in the belief that inner peace cannot exist, if one is still holding onto the past or anticipating the future. Although it is common for people to get lost in their thinking, that is the exact opposite of mindfulness. Mindfulness asks that we let go of all our anxieties, and simply be.

However, one cannot truly let go until they have “transcended all kinds of fear” (Hahn 47) and become “content with whatever happens, unattached to pleasure or pain, success or failure” (Mitchell 76). This is highly important as Kabat-Zinn asserts that “our reactions to things are usually clouded by fear, hopelessness, or anger” (Kabat-Zinn 295). “Only the Spirit acts in pure Love” (Merton 66), spoken excellently by Thomas Merton who notes that “our true Self” (Merton 23) exists in the “depths of our being” (Merton 23) and that we cannot operate from our Spirit if we are still concerned with earthly affairs and anxieties. “Perfect Nirvana is the state of non-fear” (Hahn 47). Clearly, there is a divide between love and fear. Tranquility and compassion cannot arise where there is fear, because fear breeds anger, jealousy, and hatred; whereas love invites feelings of compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance.

Nonetheless, one of the most important factors is “interconnectedness” (Kabat-Zinn 187). Kabat-Zinn quotes Einstein saying, “a human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space” (Kabat-Zinn 190). It is important to “recognize that nothing occurs in isolation” (Kabat-Zinn 192) and it is necessary to “perceive the intrinsic web of interconnectedness” (Kabat-Zinn 192). Thich Nhat Hahn refers to this notion as “interbeing” (Hahn 3), expressing that “’to be’ is to inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with every other thing” (Hahn 4). Inter-being almost serves as a synonym, if not definition for interconnectedness and wholeness. Merton enhances this idea by saying that “God manifests Himself everywhere, in everything” (Merton 70); while Cyprian Consiglio says “God is within all things” (Consiglio 3). Clearly, not only we are all connected, but we are all linked by this inner Spirit that exists within everyone and everything. Krishna states, “he who is rooted in oneness realizes that I am in every being” (Mitchell 94).

Lastly, there is this sense of eternity that lies within all these texts—a sense that while we do live and die, our Spirit lives on forever. Krishna does a magnificent job of identifying this, “These bodies come to an end; but that vast embodied Self is ageless, fathomless, eternal” (Mitchell 49). Thich Nhat Hahn asks that we “transcend the fear of birth and death” (Hahn 51) reassuring us that “I am only the continuation” (23), quoting French scientist Lavoisier “’Nothing is created and nothing is destroyed’”( 23), therefore “one form of energy can only become another form of energy” (23). Similarly, Kabat-Zinn quotes Einstein saying, “we all come into and go out of this world as quickly passing gatherings of energy” (191), and we lose sight of the bigger picture when we are so focused on what’s mine and not ours. As human beings, who are born and die, it is easy to forget that we possess a greater depth than our flesh. Flesh is what separates us, but the Spirit unites us.

As Kabat-Zinn takes a secular approach to mindfulness, he states many of the same ideas as those said in these mystical writings—he just speaks in a different language. Better yet, they enhance each other. While Kabat-Zinn says, “If there is magic anywhere, it is in you” (7), Cyprain Consiglio quotes the Bible saying, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1). Both authors are alluding to the idea of divinity existing within our Selves, and not as something external that needs to be sought out. Consiglio even goes as far to refer to humans as “vessels of divinity” (1). All of these texts seem to correspond in a beautiful manner. While one author refers to a practice as meditation and mindfulness, the other calls it contemplative prayer; but we know that they are talking about the same thing because they the same thing of us—to be aware of our breathing and focus our attention on the present moment. While Kabat-Zinn calls it “interconnectedness” (187), Hahn calls it “interbeing” (3). While Kabat-Zinn is able to coincide with all of these mystical texts in Full Catastrophe Living, he shies away from mysticism as a means of captivating his audience—secular America. However, Kabat-Zinn is able to use scientific reasoning to explain mysticism; which does more than just capture secular America, but connects mindfulness to mysticism showing that they are no different.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Consiglio, Cyprian. Prayer in the Cave of the Heart: The Universal Call to Contemplation. Collegeville: Liturgical, 2010. Print.

Hahn, Thich Nhat. The Heart of Understanding. Jorbagh Lane: Full Circle, 2014. Print.

Mitchell, Stephen. Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation. New York: Harmony, 2000. Print.

Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Full Catastrophe Living: How to Cope with Stress, Pain and Illness Using Mindfulness Meditation. London: Piatkus, 2013. Print.

Hahn, Thich Nhat. Awakening of the Heart. Berkeley: Parallax, 2012. Print.

McGinn, Bernard. The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism. New York: Modern Library, 2006. Print.

Merton, Thomas. Thomas Merton: Essential Writings. New York: Orbis, 2000. Print.

111

Selah Marley

Professor Bradley Lewis

Mindfulness and Mysticism

10/13/16

 

Mindfulness and Mysticism

Full Catastrophe Living is a guidebook on how to tackle the world—our own personal worlds and remain sane. In this book, Kabat-Zinn guides us with description, example, explanation, and encouragement on meditation practice, and the cultivation of mindfulness. Ultimately, Kabat-Zinn claims that mindfulness can bring the entire world to a state of peace and compassion; but we must first work on ourselves. In his explanation of mindfulness, though, Kabat-Zinn discusses it in a very scientific manner, to reel his audience in—America, because he is aware that if he refers to mindfulness in a more religious, mystical context, it will quickly scare people away. However, Kabat-Zinn does not deny mysticism, rather than avoids it. Ultimately, Kabat-Zinn’s phrase “mystical hocus-pocus” obscures an opening in MBSR to mystical experience.

“Until very recently, the very word meditation tended to evoke raised eyebrows and thoughts about mysticism and hocus-pocus in many people” (7, Full Catastrophe Living). In the aforementioned quote, Kabat-Zinn does not necessarily deny the existence of mysticism in his practice; he simply avoids it. He understands that the practice of meditation is usually linked to Buddhist religion, so he makes an effort to separate the practice of meditation from religion. Actually, Kabat-Zinn never says that the MBSR program was unrelated to mysticism; he just makes a point to separate the practice of meditation from mysticism. Considering the fact that his audience is Western society—a society that prides itself on religious freedom and secularism, it is almost necessary for Kabat-Zinn to separate mysticism and meditation. This is noted in Mindful America where Wilson states that there is an effort being made “to hoist mindfulness out of a religious context and re-embed it specifically in a secular, scientific, Western biomedical framework,” so it can be well-received by American citizens.

Although Kabat-Zinn does a spectacular job at framing mindfulness in a secular manner, it is necessary to understand that he does not separate mindfulness from mysticism; but more specifically, meditation. However, as a method of making his audience feel comfortable with this foreign concept of mindfulness and everything it entails, he gives tons of scientific background and understanding. For example, he makes constant references to renowned scientists like David Bohm, Carl Jung, and Albert Einstein to support and explain mindfulness. “Poets and scientists alike are aware that our organism pulsates with the rhythms of its ancestry. Rhythm and pulsation are intrinsic to all life, from the beating of bacterial cilia to alternating cycles of photosynthesis and respiration in plants, to the circadian rhythms of our body and its biochemistry” (38, Full Catastrophe Living). This quote not only gives scientific background to this idea of a universal pulsation between all matter, but also explains Kabat-Zinn’s idea of interconnectedness.

However, what Kabat-Zinn is doing is not separating science and mysticism, but using them to explain each other. He quotes Einstein to give scientific explanation (and credo), to this theory of wholeness, “A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness” (190, Full Catastrophe Living). In relation, Stace says, “There are not two Ones, but only one, which in the mystic’s interpretation, is God or the Universal Self of the whole universe” (133, Mysticism and Philosophy). Both Stace and Einstein are saying the same thing, in regard to wholeness and connectedness; they are just speaking different languages to different audiences. Kabat-Zinn relies more heavily on people like Einstein to back his theory up because he knows it’ll be widely accepted by Western society given Einstein’s credibility; but if you look outside of Full Catastrophe Living, many connections can be found in regard to mysticism and science—like Stace’s Mysticism and Philosophy.

Kabat-Zinn can separate meditation from mysticism because it is not necessarily the physical act of meditation that brings about mystical experiences, but the attunement to the “continual rhythmic exchange as matter and energy flow back and forth between our bodies and what we call ‘the environment,’” (39) or what Stace refers to as, “The Unifying Vision” (131). Nevertheless, this state of being that James refers to as transient can also be obtained through the usage of psychedelic drugs where Norra Mac Ready points out that some patients who were regulated the psycholobin returned feeling “interconnected to other forms of energy” and “as if their consciousness is a part of a greater consciousness […] connected to transcendental forces and a sense of sacredness” (Opening the Doors of Perception). Kabat-Zinn refers to this feeling as “interconnectedness—which empathizes the intrinsic reciprocity of all relationships” (271); while Stace confirms these feelings of “sacredness” (Lewis, Mindfulness, Mysticism, and Narrative Medicine) as belonging to that of mystical experiences.

Therefore, Kabat-Zinn continues to make an effort, to shy away from this idea of mysticism, so his readers and patients can find it for themselves. After meditation, one of his patients reported back to him claiming that she felt “nothingness and an everything at the same time” (196, Full Catastrophe Living); proving that Kabat-Zinn was not denying the existence of mysticism, rather wanted his patients and readers to discover it on its own. In Mysticism and Philosophy, Stace refers to one of the common characteristics of mystical experience as “paradoxicality” (131), which is very similar to the experience of Kabat-Zinn’s patient. Similarly, the patient also referred to it as “God” (196), while James notes it as a characteristic of mystical experience, “when the characteristics sort of consciousness has set in, the mystic feels as if his own will were in abeyance, and indeed sometimes as if he were grasped and held by a superior power” (291, The Varieties of Religious Experience).

James and Kabat-Zinn intersect once more, in regard to the description, or feeling that is invoked with mystical experience by meditation. Both Kabat-Zinn and James note that “many times [the patients] don’t even recognize such experiences at the time they are happening as being particularly important” (194), while James agrees, saying that “there may be no recollection whatever of the phenomenon, and it may have no significance for the subject’s inner life” (292). However, they both agree on the fact that “such shifts in perspective are signs of seeing with the eyes of wholeness” (194, Full Catastrophe Living), as it has “a profound sense of importance” (292, The Varieties of Religious Experience).

This proves that Kabat-Zinn was not denying the existence of mysticism, rather putting it away, so that his audience could discover it for themselves, instead of rejecting it from the beginning. He gives his audience the freedom to see mysticism in its own light rather than telling them what it is.

Ultimately, Kabat-Zinn makes an effort to hide mysticism, almost initially reject it, as a means of capturing his audience. He is fully aware of the secular state of the Western world and knows that in order to fully grab his audience; he must express mindfulness and meditation in a secular, scientific manner. Stuart Hall refers to this method of “translation” in his article on ‘culture,’ in Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices as working language through representation. Understanding this, Kabat-Zinn tries to “successfully appropriate religious practices into American culture” (Wilson, 3), so that it can be assimilated into places where “secular culture” (Wilson, 3) dominates. He also understands that science and mysticism are intrinsically linked, which is why Wilson refers to “Buddhism’s interaction with psychology” (6, Medicalizing Mindfulness), and even goes as far to say, “the Buddha was a type of psychologist” (8, Medicalizing Mindfulness). Kabat-Zinn understands this and decides to focus more on psychological aspect of things rather than the Buddhist aspect, knowing that his audience will eventually reach and understand this transcendental element of mindfulness if they believe; and as a means of making them believe, he frames it in a way that they will understand and be comfortable with.

With this new information, America can evolve from this state of fear, mindlessness, and anxiety which Kabat-Zinn refers to as “only being half-awake” (8) into a “way of being” (197)—a transition we see in The Death of Ivan Ilych, where the protagonist moves through life aimlessly, missing blessed opportunities, doing what he’s “supposed” to, but never truly happy. It is not until he reaches his deathbed that he realizes that he has only lived for “falsehood and deception” (Tolstoy, 56). However, at the last moments of his life, he accepts his destiny, “coming to terms with things as they are” (17, Full Catastrophe Living) and surrenders himself to his circumstances—death; but actually experiences a painless death… because he has “freed himself from his sufferings” (58). It can then be discerned that mindfulness and mysticism is not some creepy, elusive idea; but is something that is within everything. Not only can it be understood in a religious context, but also a scientific one. It is this idea of intrinsic wholeness that can now be seen and understood, given tangibility, allowing us to come back full circle. When we understand and have incorporated “the art of living” (33) into our daily lives, we are able to release “the stress of daily living” (13) and remain calm and grounded at all times. When we are connected to the Source, we are able to move freely—without bounds, “as quickly passing gatherings of highly structured energy” (191).

 

 

 

 

 

References

Hall, Stuart. “Representation: Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices.” (1997): n. pag. Sage Publications. Web.

James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1092. Print.

Lewis, Bradley. “Mindfulness, Mysticism, and Narrative Medicine.” J Med Humanit (2016): n. pag. Springer, 10 Mar. 2016. Web.

MacReady, Norra. “Opening the Doors of Perception.” Oxford Journals 104.21 (2012): n. pag. Print.

Stace, W. T. Mysticism and Philosophy. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1960. Print.

Tolstoy, Lev N., Louise Maude, and Aylmer Maude. Hazelton: Electronic Classic Series Publication, 1998. Electronic Classic Series Publication. Web.

Wilson, Jeff. Mindful America: The Mutual Transformation of Buddhist Meditation and American Culture. Oxford: Oxford Scholarship Online, 2014. Print.

 

30.000 


Is time cyclical or linear?
Yes, history does repeat itself.. but you can’t use that as an excuse to sit back and WAIT. Time is always moving. We are always existing in a different threshold.. in the eternal now. Is time cyclical? Because I think I’ve been here before. I’m not sure what to believe. I can never get it back. Not one moment of it.. but somehow it always feels the same. Is time cyclical or are we? We go around and around and around on this terrestrial terrain.. waiting for our time. But if the time is now, what are we waiting for?
Is time cyclical or are numbers? 0123456789.. repeat. The problem is that we define time with numbers, but who created the intervals? Who decided what a second would be? Who decided what the minute would hold? They tried to put my life in their hands, but they didn’t know.. I would outgrow, all these limitations and restraints. Meant to hinder you and hold you back. To keep you waiting and waiting and waiting.. but time never does. Even when we do nothing, we are still doing something. We are always doing. For every moment, there is an action. Why do we get lost in the numbers? Money.. clocks.. we look to count up and up and up; but to get where? To no avail, unfortunately. So thirsty for something we’ll never attain. What is the most amount of money? It doesn’t exist.. so why are we chasing an abyss? Didn’t they tell you about eternity?

Didn’t they warn you about infinity? A blessing and a curse.. depending on which path you follow. But often, we forget that our souls are hollow. We weigh ourselves down.. heavy on our hearts.. with all that is temporal. We’re caught up in time.. lost in the past, waiting for the future.. but what about NOW? All we have is right now. All that exists is right now. Now is the past, present, and future.. all occurring simultaneously. If it’s all relative, what are we holding on to? We hold onto different moments of now because we’re uncomfortable with this one. Why not liberate thyself? Why not take every single chance and opportunity to find your Self? Of course, it’s an endless journey.. but wouldn’t you rather chase after you instead of something else? Why not take all that energy and put it back into your Self? I promise you’ll reach new heights. I promise you’ll know what true power is. You just gotta try. 

We search for our Selves in things that lack meaning and substance. We search for our Selves because we’re on the quest for happiness and bliss; but we’re lost because we don’t know where to start. Little do you know, you’re always at the start line. Little do you know, even simple questions can bring you the insight you’ve always searched for. What is it you’re searching for? Do you think money, clothes, and cars equate to happiness? What will you do when you reach the top and find that there is nothing there?
Love. We lack love. We lack LOVE. To love is to live. Open your heart. Raise your frequency. Be compassionate and free. Why live in fear when you don’t have to? We’ve had fear instilled into our hearts and minds because THEY were afraid of what we are capable of. They distract you with nice items and limit you with rules.. so you can only go so far. So you can only touch the top.. of their box. 

FUCK THE BOX. 
THERE IS NO SUCH THING. All there is, is what your mind perceives.. and even that is an illusion. Everything you’re scared of isn’t real. It’s what you perceive it to be. Don’t cloud your mind with lies and fallacies when life could be so simple. Yes, balance. We all deserve truth and balance. But that can only be found within. The way you view the world is the way you view yourself. Our realities are mental. All we have is our mind and images.. after that, it’s about where your mind takes you. Stop being a slave to your Self and take control
Self control. Discipline. Knowledge. Wisdom. Awareness. 
LOVE. 
Liberation. 
Free yourself so you can BE YOUR SELF.