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To warn you about the dangers of practising mindfulness

(79 Posts)
theymademejoin Mon 18-Sep-17 22:27:02

I brought the dogs for a walk in the woods yesterday. Decided to take the nice, smooth gravel path rather than one of the mud tracks, as it had been raining the previous day.

I had been reading about how you can practise mindfulness anywhere. Just be in the moment. Absorb with your senses. So, as the path was nice and smooth, with no roots or holes to trip me up, I decided to give it a go.

I wandered along, really seeing the dappled sunlight filtering through the treetops, really hearing the swoosh of the gentle breeze as it rustled through the leaves, really smelling the earthy fragrance of the loamy, damp, undergrowth when.........

Splash! I had wandered from the centre of the path into an ankle-deep, crater filled with mucky water at the side of the path. And best of all, I was about 30 minutes away from the car at this stage.

I was bloody mindful on the walk back. Mindful of the squelchy, squishy, horribleness that was my shoe. I think I'll stick to my normal heedless tramp through the woods in future. Or maybe wear wellies.

Any other tales of mindfulness gone wrong?

sadiemm2 Mon 18-Sep-17 22:37:49

I object to the commodification of a centuries old way of life that is sacred to millions of people.... But that's not particularly light hearted grin I am going to cheerfully and lightheartedly punch tye next person who suggests mindfulness will help me cope with the pain my RA and various other musculoskeletal disorders causes. No, it fucking won't.

elektrawoman Mon 18-Sep-17 22:40:48

I always think it's quite funny how the people that go on about mindfulness are often the least mindful people I know!

BillywigSting Mon 18-Sep-17 22:43:33

I was mindfully paying attention to me breathing, how all of my muscles etc felt with one of those apps (headspace I think it might have been).

I'd put a pot of coffee on the stove to brew before I started.

I was quite quickly very mindful of the stink of burnt coffee and rubber, the district sensation of being insufficiently caffeinated and the £35 it cost to replace my coffee pot.

Oddly enough I never try that one again.

Gorygloria Mon 18-Sep-17 22:43:45

I can successfully meditate but can't be mindful going about daily active life. The meditation does make me feel refreshed

theymademejoin Mon 18-Sep-17 22:45:00

Agree with you re the commodification. And the pedlars of it as a cure all.

But it's still nice to watch the dappled light in the woods. No harm to remind ourselves to slow down a bit and enjoy the moment.

ineedamoreadultieradult Mon 18-Sep-17 22:45:47

I tried to complete some mindful colouring with DS the only thing I was mindful of was how fucking crap he is at colouring!

BillywigSting Mon 18-Sep-17 22:47:49

Slowing down to smell the roses is fine and lovely. It's doesn't really do anything for chronic pain though.

theymademejoin Mon 18-Sep-17 22:49:23

BillywigSting - exactly the sort of thing I was talking about smile

Gloria - I think of being mindful in everyday life as just being aware of what's around us. It doesn't have to be a big thing.

NevilleBennett Mon 18-Sep-17 22:51:58

But mindfulness is supposed to be noticing everything. Your mindfulness went wrong because you weren't focusing on the right things. You were too busy noticing everything else to notice what was actually happening.

So you're complaining that mindfulness doesn't work, but you were doing the opposite

Gorygloria Mon 18-Sep-17 22:53:30

I wish I could do it theymade, but my head runs at a million miles an hour. Im not in tune with my senses unless I make the effort to take time out. I intuit all the time though. I wish my noodle had an on/off switch!

Slimthistime Mon 18-Sep-17 22:56:29

um...I thought mindfulness was really noticing things

but I guess you noticed all the lovely things and not the ground beneath your feet which in theory should be easy to do.


not sure I know what mindfulness really means either. I mean, you are suppose to enjoy the fresh air and the sights etc so the risk of landing in a pond does exist!

hope you are warm and dry now!

tiredbutFINE Mon 18-Sep-17 22:58:04

Got recommended it for pain years ago. Bought the book with the frigging raisin chapter in. It has made me acutely mindful that I only tolerated raisins as a healthy snack but didn't really like them. Have not eaten them since.

Slimthistime Mon 18-Sep-17 22:58:19

Neville "But mindfulness is supposed to be noticing everything."

is it? This conjures up images of Sherlock looking at someone and noting everything from the shadows under their eyes to the possibly frayed edges of their sweater to their body language, posture, size of their pupils, how recently they applied hand that mindfulness? Or just being highly observant?

Slimthistime Mon 18-Sep-17 22:59:09

Gory "I wish my noodle had an on/off switch!"

i think you should put that on a t shirt and test the reactions.

Gorygloria Mon 18-Sep-17 23:02:03

A good example is from one of my kids. They said I say random things. For example I was aware one of them was talking to me about sharks as I was driving and I replied "no I'll go to Tesco before the tip". My kid looked at me and laughed. I wasn't really listening. I was mentally planning my busy Saturday. I may not hear the birdsong or notice the sun on my favs but I sure as hell have trained myself to focus on my kids now

Aintgotnosoapbox Mon 18-Sep-17 23:03:29

I think in mindful walking you are supposed to be intensely in the moment and movement of walking- not day dreaming off the path lol anything could happen! Please don't do mindful driving ....

ShoeShooey Mon 18-Sep-17 23:05:17

Somebody else shares some of my reservations! Suzanne Moore wrote a great piece in The Guardian a year or so ago on this. It is presented as a cure for everything grrr.... I have a chronic illness and we are "taught" this by occupational therapists at the Pain Clinic, for reasons that are unclear to me even now. I don't know if the Occupational Therapists are aware of this but Mindfulness actually comes from a spiritual tradition, and religion and in fact is a spiritual practice of Buddhism! Yet somehow it has morphed into a Western "relaxation technique"! I have calmed down a bit, as I suppose it does help some people, even if it does circumvent the inconvenience of actually being fully involved in a religion. But it has also become quite commercial and their are some expensive programmes out there. Everyone and anyone can set themselves up as a Mindfulness teacher. Spiritually aware people have been doing this in the West for years, without giving it this strange (to me) name or charging for it.

ReanimatedSGB Mon 18-Sep-17 23:06:58

It's just mystic wank. You might as well have a wank (which, in some cases, has a good pain-relieving effect anyway).

Slimthistime Mon 18-Sep-17 23:08:03

gory - "favs"?

Gorygloria Mon 18-Sep-17 23:08:23

Reanimated, having an orgasm is a great hangover reliever wink

ShoeShooey Mon 18-Sep-17 23:08:31

And also Mindfulness has become narrowly interpreted to my mind to be a narrow mental concentration, which I think is something we probably don't need in our often very "heady" way of looking at things in UK. Whereas to me it means more "awareness" including all kinds of awareness, intuitive, physical, emotional and so forth.

Gorygloria Mon 18-Sep-17 23:08:59

Slim - face. Fat fingers and no specs on

theymademejoin Mon 18-Sep-17 23:09:14

Slime - I really noticed the ground beneath my feet once I landed in the puddle grin The bits I was mindful of before that were lovely though.

Neville - I think there are lots of different definitions of mindfulness. It was a nice day so I decided to pay a bit of attention to the lovely nature scenes around me rather than simply ploughing through the woods in a hurry. I'm not really complaining about mindfulness not working. It was just a lighthearted comment about my mishap.

ShoeShooey Mon 18-Sep-17 23:11:03

When you see posts like that from Reanimated, you just want to have a shower - I'll be leaving this thread now, its clearly late night psycho-time. Hope you recovered OP!

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