Mindfulness Makes You To Blame



hello there from Wood green I hope this finds you well I was just reading an article that my Twitter friend sent me here about how the mindfulness movement is quite irritating in a way because it puts the onus on to you to fix your own mental health problems as though you caused them yourself and that's very much missing the point that you know a major cause of our endemic mental health problems in the West is the society we live in and also if we just alleviate our own symptoms not only are we taking the blame in its stead but we're actually making ourselves more able to keep functioning within this broken society and to keep its wheels turning but I I don't think that happens because of my experience if you keep going with meditation initially it does make you better able to function in your existing life but then it makes you much more able to see things as they really are and you stop buying into the lies of capitalism for instance also socialism also all sorts of things that are trying to steer you in a certain direction that aren't based in reality you stop being so fooled by stuff because I do think you become more intelligent I mean after all all mindfulness is asking you to do is to pay attention to what is and ignore what is not and mindfulness meditation is the type that asks you to tune into your surroundings through your sensory perception so you pay attention to the colors and the things you can feel like the floor beneath you and the sounds and all that and then the other kind of meditation asks you to pay attention to the experience of being itself so you tune into what it's like to be alive so much that you ignore your surroundings and everything else all the thoughts going through your head but both of them asked you to quieten down the rumination and just pay attention solely to what you can tell does exist either your own consciousness or the environment around you so they're both asking you to pay attention to what is to the exclusion of what is not and it makes you smarter I think over time because you're asking your brain to get into the habit of taking more snapshots of reality per second rather than time slicing its processing power with snapshots of ruminations worries fears chitchat when you meditate a lot your emotions become much less reactive to things and I think a lot of people think well why do I want that because the emotions are your instinct and they've evolved to steer you correctly surely I've written here on this website Bloom book oh my theory is the way they're fairly dysfunctional in the modern world so that when you engage in meditation and they start being much easier to manage that's how they should be it's not that you're becoming some weird detached freak you're getting them to behave only to things that are real and not to engulf you about all sorts of stuff that is just like a waste of your time but what I think repels people about mindfulness and anything like like yoga and all that and stuff when you're depressed and could actually use those things is that well one thing it's always rich people are doing it and like what about the rest of us why why's mental health reserved for people who can afford therapy so that's one thing but but the other thing that makes it irritating the concept of meditation and all that is that if you're really depressed I don't think you've able to connect with reality at all so why would you go to yoga class if you're having a problem collecting the mail or who knows like asking someone to do calculus on a log FluMist it's just not and I think how your brain works in terms of your access to happiness is that if reality was totally unfiltered I honestly think it would be like the religions say and people have taken psychedelics and had a good experience say it is that there's something about existing and matter itself that is ecstatic I don't know why it's like that but I think if so many people have said this over thousands of years there's probably something in it but the reason we can't access all the joy that you can see in animals and children and you know the reason you can't be happy like that ordinarily is that in life the brains job is to make you do certain things some of which are very difficult in order to survive and procreate and the weight steers you into those behaviors like gathering food finding a partner is by using hormones to direct you and the hormones usually make you so uncomfortable to not do those things that you're pushed into doing them all the stuff it does is you it uses discomfort like you know when you're hungry your appetite is is governed by hormones that make you feel uncomfortable so if you're on a lovely walk but you're hungry you don't see that the veins on a leaf because you're trying to think where am I gonna get a vegan burger at this time of day you know what I mean like you're busy thinking about the abstract but if your appetite is sated you can appreciate the spider webs and all that stuff and you're much more connected with monks your your brain is taken off the it's opened the gates to the present moment because it doesn't think it needs to steer you quite so uncomfortably then so it's my theory that in the old days before language you would only think about abstract things by which I mean actions and things that you're not perceiving in the present moment or doing in the present moment you'd only think about the abstract when your brain wanted you to act on those thoughts so you'd only imagine stuff basically if it was related to getting food avoiding predators or finding a person you love or finding friends your community things that your body wants you to act on after we got language though we were able to catalogue reality in a way that made it look totally different like once you've got a word for the past in the future that makes it so palpable you can communicate it to another of course it becomes much more visible to your own mind as well and now it's a part of your reality you straddle instead of just appearing when your brain wants you to think about it so it's as though we used to think in a way that was automated but with language when the internal operating system became linguistic it was like we were operating it on manual now and the crap you think about today is so should I buy that what does that say about me in terms of status fast food I'd like to eat but no I'm not going to the complexity of life that's artificial means that a lot of things you think about aren't good for you and then a lot of modern life is totally fictitious so a lot of the stories in your head are about people who don't exist they're just characters and they don't even give you moral they're usually designed to sell you washing powder or something so all the the mental chitchat now is being wasted on stuff that we're not going to pursue but I think the body still believes that we need to if it turns up in our head because it's evolved to pursue everything that we think of that isn't immediately real that's the point of the imagination as far as its concerned and so the result is you've got so much crap going around in your head that so much brain power has been taken away from your physical station in reality that you are made to feel literally uncomfortable your body's like I should be pursuing about hundred things at the moment why why am I looking at the this flower and you know that's how it works you know if you think about the most extreme version of when you're breathed or something and the whole world looks unreal and it just seems like than you totally can't connect with because in moments like that your body is trying to take you out of reality so that you can go into a private space and file away what's happened so it can make sense of whether this is a danger to you like where how's my life changed all the things that need to be filed it's an urgent need to retreat from reality so it makes reality seem like you can't even access it but in this much less urgent version it's like you still think you've got a lot to be worried about and it's keeping you from connecting with the present moment so you need to learn how to open the gates to tune into the present moment and meditation is the gate so it trains you to quieten the chitchat in your head connects you to the moment by telling your body as you do it this is what I want you to do I'm assigning attention to the world around me because this is a safe condition and I'm telling you the blinkers can come off because I'm consciously saying when I do this I'm safe and happy and over time your body learns to be more stationed in reality and this translates into you being able to do that thing that you read about and can't do which is be present and if you continue with meditation for 20 years and end up doing hours of every day although it's like different for different people apparently you get so good at seeing what is that one day something clicks and you see that thing that all the religions have been saying that everything is one after all that all matter is ecstatic that reality is love and you're like I finally get it this is enlightenment nothing external can affect my sense of ecstasy and well-being and love and I'm not scared by anything and apparently there's this feeling that there's a quality to consciousness that it survives everything including death and if the brain has this capacity I mean like we can't know for sure unless you've experienced it but if what they're saying is true maybe that's the state that we were in we lived by instinct alone why is there this condition in the mind that you can reach by reducing artificial complexity within your thoughts because I think the more novelty appeared in life the more the brain had to assign areas of itself that had evolved to do other things to working with tools and so it had to unplug pieces of the brain that were previously stationed in reality to deal with creating innovation and that made more and more blind spots in our mind until the things that we now call supernatural and religious were invisible to us you know at one point I think we had a perception that was much more similar to the psychedelic experience not that I would advocate the use of illegal drugs but you know psychedelics do seem to be kick-starting existing mental circuitry why do we have this dormant circuitry if it wasn't at one point stationed in reality so how this translates into your personal relationship with the techniques that might improve low-level discomfort that you can't pinpoint the cause of it looks like a waste of time it looks repellent in some ways you know like you see a picture of a seal with oh we'll get through this together God or or a silhouette of a thin person on a mountain and some religious you know sentence and even I remember even being annoyed by corporate messages like enjoy coca-cola because I would think how dare how dare you presume I have the energy to enjoy anything like I can't connect with anything the whole of reality is like I'm looking at it from under water I can't you know you expect me to engage with a can of coke I feel like I'm kicked in the stomach mate I feel like I'm trespassing everywhere I go all friends and family are strangers coca-cola how can you think I can eat or sleep at a time like this you know how it is everybody has felt really low at times in their life and you you you want to hang on to your connection to the world because even if you can't quite engage with what people are saying the faint buzzing of their voices it's like sort of blessed Middies from another dimension that you think you might get back to one day if you just follow the golden thread of fading defiance and so then I don't want to be churlish but you see a tweet from Deepak Chopra like and you think that's that's a poultry self for the negation I'm feeling that seems to be exactly universe sized but Deepak Chopra you know the Demonte glasses that I think he weighs I might be making that up in my head that is the meaning of life that kind of chipper optimism that we're all hurtling towards the void but then if you've got enough investment in life to pay attention to whether you want you know the this style of glasses or this style but that that means you're winning like you're actually stationed and invested in what you're doing day to day and optimistic there's nothing more noble and brilliant than that and that's what you want so I don't mean to slag off Deepak because that's the only name I could think of but if you start meditating for five minutes in the morning and five minutes at night because you want consistency that's why I say start with the short amount of time all you need to do to repeat a mantra like nam-myoho-renge-kyo or the great great mantra of Terah the Buddhist deity I'm teri Tudor a Teresa ha just keep repeating this mantra over and over again five minutes in the morning five minutes at night and as the days and months pass you may notice things immediately after day one I noticed I can fall asleep really quickly after meditating at night because it must be reprogramming my brain in a mundane way but it's a mirror and then as time goes on you you might start seeing things a bit more clearly so some of what you start seeing is a bit uncomfortable but a lot of it is really positive because then you start training your brain to take more snapshots of reality and it's ignoring the chitchat and you're not reacting you're not being golfed by emotions and you're very very interested in what people are saying and you start listening to people for the first time you think wow this is I really care about what happens to you and then they start saying thanks for listening that really helped I feel a lot better I wasn't was I doing anything different to I did in the past and you were because you were present with them you weren't worried about looking at your phone like every other person in society is you were actually genuinely interested and they can tell that and then you start finding that you can connect with friends and family better because the fear that you should be doing something else even though you don't know what it is we should be getting back home like oh yeah cuz I've got to get back why well I just got to get back you know you're not doing that anymore you're not thinking about calories or money or the regrets that you have and what they mean about your value they're all of no consequence because actually they're of no consequence and now you're just dealing with reality and thinks that you're processing other things that you need to process and you're just doing stuff in a more ordered and functional way and as this article says because you're not being you know weighed down by depression you get better at your job but then as your mental energy increases you start moving out of protection mode you're not just trying to safeguard yourself you're moving into growth mode and you have the energy to consider and recognize that there's more possible in your own life and there might be a better way of living and then this keeps going and you extends out to how could you actually change society and what could you do to make someone else's life better and the difficulties that prevented you from pursuing any of this now don't seem as painful because your emotions are much less hurty like if you were worried about rejection in pursuing some you know you want to find a partner or you want to find a job but you're worried about rejection because it will put me out of action for like two years or a couple of days or well then once rejection stops hurting because after all there's no functional need for it to hurt that much as it normally does you're not scared of it anymore and you just start doing the things that are necessary to get the new kind of life that you've been wanting and those setbacks that turn up just don't harm your progress that much and then the apex of success is not that you achieve all your goals and maintain some degree of what you wanted in the physical world because after all you can't control external factors in life so success really is that thing of having the wellspring of happiness within you that doesn't depend on external forces and the anatomy of that is just your brain working in a different way to how it is when you're depressed and you know something as simple as meditation for five minutes the morning five minutes at night if you try it for a month and see whether it changes things that's what I would suggest and then expand it from there is free and then I think because that's what annoyed me but you know you have to be rich to have access to mind improving technologies but you don't but then the religions all the different versions of reality you could get whether you chose to study some kind of science or some kind of religion or some kind of psychology or something like that I think they're fascinating because they've been designed by people over thousands of years sometimes or at least a number of different people and so they're going to augment your detailed understanding of the potential reality and all that but they generally do cost some kind of investment of time or money then that's like a luxury so it's not like either all that you should just ignore every technology or every cultural thing that would cost you in some way they're worthwhile but you shouldn't feel like improved mental health is beyond your means because it doesn't need to cost you that much just a small investment of time on a consistent basis can make such an amazing difference if you stick at it over months and the difference keeps going over years I think until presumably until you reach enlightenment which we will talk again when we're like in our 80s tell me what you think in the comments below speak to you soon good bye

32 comments

  1. I love that you mention the chants. I use mindfulness so that i don’t push down my feelings. Chanting/mantras and mindfulness both work well for me

  2. Hi Kerry, Have you visited the Brahma Kumaris Centre? Check out the following Website. https://brahmakumaris.uk/  there are several centres in London. There are  several you-tube videos regarding Brahma Kumaris.  I wish you a good day, Kind Regards John

  3. You've inspired me to give chanting a go! I hadnt even thought about it for years bit sounds like a wonderful idea – thank you 🙂

  4. If I had a voice half as lovely as yours I'd make a video response. Instead, I'll just write everything down as a comment 😉

    Noam Chomsky posited that language is basically the way thinking is done, there were no advanced thoughts before language. Language is at the very core how we, as homo sapiens, think. For Chomsky, language didn't evolve for us to communicate better, but to think better. Of course we puts some interesting details, evidence, and arguments for this. But the message is interesting, even without it.
    Some videos for the interested:
    "Noam Chomsky – Thought, Meaning, and Reference",
    "“Language, Creativity, and the Limits of Understanding” by Professor Noam Chomsky (4-21-16)"
    (I'm not putting the links due to the fear of being put into the spam jail)

    How was life for millions of years before language happened? Around the cambrian explosion (circa 500 million years ago) a lot of complex life forms emerged. There were animals with eyes, senses, receptors. It is likely that they could feel some simpler feelings (hunger, pleasure, pain, etc.). We can conjecture that feeling creatures have been on this planet for around 500 million years. If a life of one modern human lasts for 80 years, we would have to have a 6 250 000 consequtive lives of people to span this entire history of sentient life. All this time without language.

    What would we want to pursue if we hadn't had language today? Berries and a good night's sleep? Would that be "enough" to say that life is worth living? Or: would such a life be worth more than the life we have now?

    You say, around the 8th minute mark, that we constantly think about things we should be pursuing. But if we had only the animalistic souls (to say it poetically), we would still have some strong needs, wants, urges. Maybe less varied, but strong nonetheless. So, what exactly is the difference that makes the second set of wants more valuable than the other? And why should I care that some of the needs from the first set are "less real" or that they are "virtual" in some sense?

    In Buddhism there is an advanced concept of emptiness (śūnyatā), elaborated on by Nāgārjuna. This notion says that all the things (including people) don't have any essence that make them what they appear to us. A tree is a tree not because it has some "treeness" in it, but because the constituents (today we could say atoms, for example) are structured in such and such a way. So I wouldn't say that all religions or old traditions see the world as fundamentally extatic or alive. There is variability in the traditions of the world.

    The other interesting concept (and an experience) coming from Buddhism and the practice of Vipassanā is egolessness (anattā). This is a state of consciousness, where the absence of one's self or ego becomes apparent in awareness. What are your thoughts on that?

    The problem of suffering before the Age of Language. Things are certainly not very extatic to animals on a daily basis. Animals are capable of experiencing a plethora of simpler and more complex emotions. And they also suffer a great deal. Both in farms and in the wild. I'm not sure how much nature programmes did you watch as a child, but I was hooked. Usually they show animals roaming freely in the wild. But on occasion they show us some gruesome facts of nature. A lion killing baby lions. A mother chimpanzee clinging to its dead baby for days in – what would seem to us – a mental breakdown of sorts, a zebra with a broken leg, a young hippo with holes 15 centimeters deep in its body after some ruckus between the hippos and a crocodile. And there is the life of smaller creatures: insects. Due to the numbers, this hell is multiplied by a thousand at least. Each day, each second. They can't meditate this suffering away.

    Thank you, Kerry, for another thought-provoking vid.

  5. I usually relax by going for a walk in the woods but I've been told there's "some woman" who's filming trees and green shit for hours at a time and now I am afraid!!!
    As a bit of a weirdo myself I can relate to anyone who claims to be their very own tormentor. Have you ever thought (!!!) that the more expansive and rich your vocabulary is the greater your facility for describing your inner world and the greater the danger that you''ll find ever more inventive ways to terrorise yourself with imagined worlds? I was reading Sam Vaknin's Malignant Self Love and recognised that I am a bigger bastard than I thought I was up till that point. I think that modern life offers so many ways for one person to compare their own life to other "famous" souls and then find their own wanting. Mindfulness and Stoicism do the same thing in this regard. The more we ask ourselves "What has this actually to do with me?" the more we understand that much of what pisses us off is imagined or unnecessary. I used to torment myself over my ex's chain-smoking, Aspartame-drinking, meat-eating lifestyle until I realised that it was only my concern in my head.
    How's the therapy training going? Someone better help people, 'cause they are fucked up.
    Have a great summer.

  6. This reminds me of something Corey Anton said once about "conversation being the greenest technology." It's free, has zero environmental impact, and when we learn to live in meditation, it's one of the richest aspects of life. By being tapped into our world (both internal and external), the mundane gets transformed into something beautiful.

  7. Yes – therapy – an emergent property of wealth. Definitely annoying! (But they may need it more than the rest of us.)

  8. Just revel in being a living individual. Anything beyond the individual – partnership, family, club, community, party, ideology, company, career, economy, nationality, race, species, etc. is abstract, an emergent property of numbers of individuals. None of those abstractions are alive. Individual lives should not sacrifice their life-quality for any of these things.
    The individual starling lives. The murmuration of starlings is just an emergent property of many starlings, however fascinatingly we perceive it. The murmuration does not live, and each individual is vastly more valuable. (Don't get me started on commoditization of individuals, as in factory farms!)
    Humans flock, and swarm, and shoal, and herd, and murmurate, and network in many ways – big deal – there are big numbers of humans. Don't over-honor the abstractions, the emergent properties. Honor your individuality. Keep dignity (despite the debasing effects of congregated numbers).
    Anyway, that's what I say. 😁 Always good to hear your thoughts! 😎 – So many people, so many thoughts! 😲😁
    (I can't speak to mindfulness and such. I'm just a repetition-training athlete – individual sport, no team sport for me! 😁)

  9. Paltry salve; perfect phrase for the way i see most everything, except natural environment. It sits in my consciousness in a similar way as of the gus van zant film elephant. The school shooting being so mundane in its en-action, rather than that block buster film presentation, hammers home the horror.

    One can see so many, and sometimes only, blocks, to doing something like meditation. There can then follow accusative "help", such as, telling a person that they don't want to get better.
    That can be a thing in itself. It is scary to feel better if it isn't a known, or usual. Expectation surrounding that feeling better, whether from self, or though usually more oppressive, from the outside is another huge fear.

    Sounds like whinging, yet Looking at this and hopefully finding a way to release it is so much better than sublimation through paltry salves.

  10. Before this video, 2 several-minute-long ads for "mindfulness" programs offered by orgs that seem very much like Scientology with a new costume on. I like your thoughts on this better. TFP : )

  11. Wow, you're quite the optimist saying we'll be enlightened when we're 80. That implies that the human race will persist for several decades.

  12. Greetings from Manchester. See some of my recent videos if ya like. Playlists are alright too 🙂 Over n out

  13. Easy to do, Free to do, and a bunch of science shows that meditation is good for you too. Over a year into meditation, 1 to 3 days a week.

  14. KEZZZZA!! Missed you mate,,
    Please consider doing a weekly podcast…I appreciate how much excellence you put into these,,,and they are…
    But anyway,,thanks for the upload…🙂

  15. The thought that the mere existence of language is captivating our brain like some sort of computer-virus that prevents us from perceiving our actual reality as it is, is highly fascinating.
    I really wonder how thinking would be if it wasn’t for language.

  16. Love these videos, makes everything so much more pleasant. In other context your voice would also make a great asmr experience to help sleep, just my opinion from someone who suffers from insomnia and there's not enough good asmr "stories" out there, most are plain ridiculous.

  17. Interesting. Felt like some sort of nature class. I drifted into a daydream…back at school, having a nature lesson, helping me to forget about football and girlfriends!
    What you said about to 'Enjoy' by a soft drinks company, reminded me of a video by Bhakti Sudhir Goswami, talking about getting reality from advertising, and humanistic slogans https://youtu.be/eTn_Nfvz2FA

  18. Hi Kerry, Happy 4th of July!

    I just crack myself up.

    You sound wonderful. Thank you for the message.

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