Can the subjective self, the source of so much trouble, 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. Without the chaos they’d be no word or need for mindfulness.
A true mindfulness practice is an immersive process woven into daily patterns and not partitioned off from our regular thinking and doing. Rather than performing or achieving mindfulness we become and are mindfulness. A red flag is a clear dividing line between meditation and its assumed conclusion, a finish line we eagerly await so we can go on with what we were before, essentially unchanged.
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.
As a corollary it’s a wonderful effect that the more time we spend in the mindful state the less tenable time invested outside it is. Instead 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”.