There is no escaping the ubiquity of mindfulness at the moment. Having said that, I am very guilty of spreading the discussion on mindfulness, as I have already written about it several times, here, on Blasting News: "Mindfulness: Panacea or Fad? cure-all or impermanent vogue?" and "Can Mindfulness respond to Existential angst?".
I am not totally opposed to mindfulness; and, as "a tool", it may help some people a bit. However, it's not the panacea for mental health, and in a couple of years time, I'm sure that view will be almost unamious. Even now, apart its strongest proponents, there is some sceptism and a general recognition that it is not a panacea.
One problem with mindfulness is that it is just "too nice", it is saccharine, and fluff. One key part of mindfulness is what is called "Loving-Kindness" meditation. In essence, this seems so inoffensive that it is banal. However, actually, "Loving-Kindness" is actually more problematic than that.
So, what is "Loving-Kindness"? For those of you who have never heard of "Loving-Kindness" meditation, this is what it is: It involves the silent repetition of the phrase, or mantra: "May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease". This then evolves into: "May you be happy.
May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease".
The first part is thought to be a challenge for someone with low self-esteem, and who cannot feel value about themselves, or be compassionate with themselves. The second part is challenging because you are supposed to confer the same sentiments toward "people with whom you have difficulty".
So, what is the problem with all this from an existential point of view? Well, it is not just the saccharine, nicely-niceness of it. Whilst such sentiments sound fantastic in the abstract, they would be truly horrendous in reality, because they do not sit with "The Human Condition". The Human Condition requires struggle, strife and difficulty to overcome to avoid sinking into depression, despair and misery. In essence, the fulfilment of "Loving-Kindness" would cause horrific depression as it would mean facing the existential anguish that is involved in grappling with the futility of The Human Condition, rather than being sidetracked by dealing with the difficulties of life.
An alternative "Loving-Kindness" needs to be created if it is to be truly humane, and manage the existential condition. It would involve things like: "May I encounter misery. May I encounter difficulty. May I encounter struggle". And, of course, in a very humane way you could wish the same sentiments on those you care about, and those you have difficulty with: "May you encounter misery. May you encounter difficulty. May you encounter struggle". #Society