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Is Mindfulness Inherently Evil?

Updated on January 1, 2015


Does an awareness of suffering and the plight of the poor mean we have to do something about it?

Thich Nhat Hanh says in his mindfulness training the roots of suffering are covered up by our consumption. In other words, consumption or having “Things” leads to our suffering.

I for one, do not ascribe to that position. It implies there is an inherent evil in getting rich or having things. I think it is very possible this idea is actually the cause of our suffering. In this capitalist culture, we have here in America, there is an underlying theme for us to take care of ourselves first and foremost. Of course taking care of our self and doing so at the expense of others should not be.

In Thich Nhat Hanh’s fifth mindfulness training session he actually says we are determined not to accumulate wealth while millions are hungry and dying. He also says we shouldn’t have goals of fame, power, wealth or sensual pleasure.


In an effort to understand why people vote the way they do, I started to research Wilhelm Reich and what he called the “Emotional Plaque”. In Reich’s analysis we naturally have many emotions. He especially singled out the emotions of anxiety, occasional rage and sexual excitation. These emotions are the culprits he suggested cause our illnesses and problems. Our bodies become rigid and spasmodic when some of these emotions occur. This muscular rigidity creates blocks in our bodies that if we do not pay attention to them, become biological blocks that make us ill and we function differently in society and family life. He coined the term “Armoring” to describe these muscular block.

Maitreya Buddha

YAY! We can do something!

Reich’s work was followed up by Alexander and Leslie Lowen in their book, “The Way To Vibrant Health”. In their work they show that stress produces a state of tension in the body. If the stress is relieved the tensions disappear. (YAY! We can do something about our armoring.) Their premise is the mind and the body are one. What we think affects what goes on in our body and what we feel in our body affects what we think. Their fundamental principle of bioenergetics was the body and mind are functionally identical. All of this suggests most people are not in touch with their emotions.

Kinesiology is the study of human movement. An understanding of kinesiology is fundamental for the analysis and treatment of problems in the musculoskeletal system. Certainly Lowen and Reich were heavily involved in this movement as is Thich Nhat Hanh.

Hannah Arendt introduced some novel concepts in her book "The Life Of Mind". She says, “The concept of conscience tells me what I cannot do if I would remain friends with myself”. And she also says, “Morality equates to certain actions for the sake of remaining friends with one's self”. How we see our self becomes one of the clues to understanding of our self and of others.

What Do You Think?

Do you think you are mindful and fully aware?

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