Mindfulness, Truthiness and Living Lineages
I often think about living lineages as adapting and changing form as they move across time and space. What is essential, however, is that as these traditions bud into forming new – and sometimes flourishing branches, they must always remain connected to and nourish (and be nourished by) the roots. The modern day mindfulness movement, particularly in the US, provides an interesting example of various lineages moving across time and space, seeking to integrate into modern life in a meaningful way. What appears to be happening is that an aspect of different traditions (mindfulness) has been extracted from the context within which it developed, as secularization efforts aim to make the practice more accessible into a modern culture that strongly favors safety and knowing over the mystery (and potential) of the unknown.
My hunch is that without connecting and feeding its roots, mindfulness will wither on the vine within this society. When I think about our work here with Saq’ Be’, both our challenge and opportunity lies in finding ways to integrate powerful living lineages into our modern life in ways that feed and nourish the roots of those traditions. This is why we are working simultaneously to bring the stories and experiences of these lineages into contact with a modern-focused world while also working towards supporting the vitality of those traditions in their homelands through various rescue and preservation efforts. This reflects a natural law of reciprocity and will ultimately help to bring the transformative potential of these lineages to bear more fully on both the modern and traditional worlds.
This article in Salon.com presents an interesting reflection on modern mythology creating a condition that has led to a reduction and sterilization of rich traditions into functional components that wind up reinforcing that existing mythology.
Mindfulness’ “truthiness” problem: Sam Harris, science and the truth about Buddhist tradition