Is Modern Mindfulness A Corporate Scam?

Some critics have taken to using the term “McMindfulness” to describe the enthusiasm with which modern mindfulness has been embraced by big corporations like Google and Amazon. You can even find mindfulness tips on the NHS website. So is modern mindfulness a corporate scam or not?

While I don’t believe everything I read about the Buddha and his teachings, you could say I’m a cautious fan of satipatthana or mindfulness as described in scholarly translations of ancient Pali texts.

And yes, I do see valid criticism of modern mindfulness programmes. [1]

The difficulties of defining “meditation” and “mindfulness” along with other methodological issues [2] call into question the overwhelmingly optimistic assessments that are being reported on social media and in popular science presses.

A secular mindfulness programme usually teaches non-judgemental awareness (of body and thoughts) as a kind of stress reduction therapy, for example.

And that’s radically different from a traditional Buddhism programme founded upon a belief in “right view” (of impermanence, dissatisfaction, emptiness), ethical conduct, and communal living for the sake of enlightened non-attachment to transient phenomena! 

After more than a decade of practicing I’ve found that mindfulness can help me to recognise, release and replace dysfunctional thinking with more functional thoughts and narratives. 

But with mindfulness also comes awareness of impermanence / interdependence. And that can bring me into conflict with the consumerist / individualist values upon which our modern societies are founded. (Why bother to strive for advancement if “self” is illusory and everything changes and nothing lasts?)

It’s not uncommon for meditators to experience a “dark night of the soul”, which could be very unsettling for people with low self-esteem, depression, or other mental health issues. [3] 

Also. it seems to me that many of the purported benefits of mindfulness [4] could just as as easily be obtained from a programme of reading, relaxation, or prayer. 

And when mindfulness is taught in companies “for the wellbeing of employees”. Or, “to improve productivity”. One might reasonably suspect that the employer is trying to push the blame for poor work-life balance and feelings of being overwhelmed / overworked onto the victims of bad management practices.

I think this quote from the NHS website sums up the situation quite well –

“Mindfulness isn’t the answer to everything, and it’s important that our enthusiasm doesn’t run ahead of the evidence... There’s encouraging evidence for its use in health, education, prisons and workplaces, but it’s important to realise that research is still going on in all of these fields. Once we have the results, we’ll be able to see more clearly who mindfulness is most helpful for.” [5]

So what do you reckon?

Is mindfulness training in schools and the NHS a good use of taxpayers’ money? 

Or is modern mindfulness a corporate scam?

And while you’re here…

If you’re a limited company owner, sole trader or in a business partnership with too much to do and not enough time to get it all done, my bookkeeping service really does bring you peace of mind.

Bookkeeping, invoicing, credit control, VAT and payroll are done for you along with any other admin you care to offload.

And while I don’t guarantee that you’ll 10x your business, the ROI does include having more time for growth and revenue generating activities.

You also get real-time management reports that enable you to make better financial decisions and manage your cash flow effectively.

Need a little help?

My Accounting Emails are for business owners who want a better understanding of their financial position. They’ll help you manage your cash flow and stay in the black.

GET MY EMAILS

Need more help?

Contact me today and we’ll talk about the help you need.

CONTACT ME

“As a small business it is important to always have financial clarity and often it is difficult to try and do this yourself. Paul has worked with us for several years and has streamlined and organised all of our accounting systems. He provides us with a complete accountancy service and is very professional in his approach as well as being a likeable guy.” - D. Walsh, Director. DualTEC Services Limited, Keighley.
(Google review)
“Paul has done a great job putting my accounts on to Sage Business Cloud, and also got a discount for me. I like that the software is MTD compatible and I can access it from anywhere. Paul sorts out all my invoices, does my bookkeeping and produces reports every quarter (or whenever I need them). He is friendly, reliable and easy to work with - it's good to have him on board." - C. Milne, Proprietor. CAM Properties, Carnforth.
(Google review)
Contact details for PAUL J LOCKEY Bookkeeping & Accounts

__________

Notes

[1] ‘Is Modern Mindfulness A Corporate Scam?’ By Rina Raphael

[2] ‘Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation And Prescriptive Agenda For Research On Mindfulness and Meditation’ by Nicholas T. Van Dam, Marieke K. van Vugt, et al.

[3] ‘The Dark Knight of the Soul’ by Tomas Rocha

[4] ‘12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation’ by Matthew Thorpe, MD, PhD

[5] https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/tips-and-support/mindfulness/