The Problem With Mindfulness

It’s the wrong word. You don’t want your mind to be full. You want it to be empty.

When I first got deep into improving my life one habit at a time, I eventually ended up in a rabbit hole of constant judgement, both of myself and everyone around me.

“I’d love to say ‘I don’t mind’ and mean it, but it’s never true. I do mind. I mind everything,” I wrote when I finally noticed. If you’re in a state of constant awareness but use said awareness only to fuel the relentless judgement machine that is your mind, your presence is totally wasted. It does not bring peace at all.

When we speak of mindfulness, we mean presence as in “fully accepting the moment,” but in that state, our mind is far from full. We don’t mind anything as in “be annoyed by,” and we are definitely not mindful in the way people mean when they tell us to “be mindful” of certain things, usually dangers and threats. We’ve got the terminology entirely backwards.

What we really mean is actually mindlessness. Not mindlessness as in “carelessness,” as in being totally ignorant of our surroundings. The mindlessness we seek is one where we are in absolute unity with the present moment. We are so “here,” alive in the now, that our mind finally shuts up for once. That’s the state we want, and it’s much closer to mindlessness than mindfulness.

Then again, what can we expect from a species that sells each other $200 headbands to meditate, an activity that is, by its very definition, about doing (and needing) nothing at all?

Don’t try to be mindful. You’ll only drive yourself nuts. Learn to be mindless. Update your definition of the word, and you’ll see the true path to inner peace more clearly than ever before.