Can the subjective self gradually and consciously be erased or is that gradual process itself a reinforcement of the self? Can objectivity be consciously practiced or is that new consciousness merely subjectivity in another guise? Will confusion choose clarity or just more of itself?
The paradox – and sometimes contradiction – of mindfulness practice is it uses – or appears to use – chronological, physical time to end psychological, subjective time. That is, the accumulated self is negated by accumulation, deliberation is stopped through deliberation.
Just as healthcare is concerned with illness mindfulness is the study of its absence; the chaotic eddies of the mind’s distraction and confusion.
Meditation is the activity both hardest and easiest, as well as being the simplest and most innate. It will be seen to be essential for true mental health, its absence a danger signal.
A true mindfulness practice is an immersive process woven into daily patterns and not partitioned off from regular thinking and doing. it may be part of a schedule but fully exists apart from it. Rather than performing or achieving mindfulness we become and are mindfulness. A red flag is a clear dividing line between meditation and its conclusion, a finish line we eagerly await so we can go on with what we were before.
If mindfulness is all there really is, both means and end itself for healthy and joyful living then why does the mind resist it so, reflexively pushing it away as far and as fast as it can? Our automatic habitual thinking dispels mindfulness just as surely as the reverse as if they were two mutually incompatible states. Can mindfulness itself be defined as the absence of mechanical thinking? It seems more obvious that the reverse is true.
It’s a wonderful effect that the more time we spend in the mindful state the less tenable time invested outside it is.
We find that a meditative state is incompatible with the usual self-based cause-effect way of thinking: “I will do this to get that and so be happy”. When the mind indulges itself like this it solidifies into a grim stiffness of purpose, losing its moment by moment ability to engage and enjoy.