Corporate "Mindfulness".

Discuss the application of the Dharma to situations of social, political, environmental and economic suffering and injustice.
DGA
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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by DGA » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:55 pm

daelm wrote:
DGA wrote:/quote]

Yes, Japanese teachers of the Meiji period and after, when "Westernizing" was the imperative. It's a semi-colonial logic at work there. If the modernizing West represented the present, and traditional Asia was the past (in the present), then the needful thing was to bring Buddhist practice and Japanese culture into the present, the now, in order to gain stature as a world power. This is a curious obverse to the generalization of meditation as a lay practice in Burma, which was a Burmese nationalist movement against British colonial power. It follows the same temporal logic (assuming the European center represents the present, and the Asian periphery lives to the present in a backward past), and enacts a similar outcome, but along a different path.
this is a nice way of treating it. the "black ships" effect. basically. i think, with a lot of colonial studies, it's hard for us to really understand the impact that steel and power and the like had. and converts that that presumed modernity, like all converts, would have been evangelical.



d
yes, no doubt about it. These were flesh-and-bones people doing their best under very difficult circumstances, and in the case of the Japanese Zen masters we were discussing, trying to earn the goodwill of a nation that their nation had just attacked in war (Pearl Harbor), hence the Emerson and Meister Eckhardt quotations...

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by daelm » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:57 pm

daelm wrote:
daelm wrote:
DGA wrote:
Yes, I think that holds up. This is why mindfulness seems like it makes sense in the same category as a bunch of other completely unrelated practices, such as hatha yoga, martial arts, rolfing, and the rest as just another arrow in the quiver of generalized wellness.
exactly! technique divorced from context.


d

and context would have accrued, from the Napoleon Hill school of life that manifests today as things like "The Secret".


d
so you end up with this weird hybrid of a lot of unrelated techniques, all invisibly bound by the framework of the late 19th-century self-improvement culture, itself intended to be a kind of rough-end-ready spirituality, claiming foundations in Emerson and seeking support from the growing American claim to pragmatism-at-all-costs. what Mencken described as the hustler made good mentality


d
Last edited by daelm on Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

daelm
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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by daelm » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:01 pm

DGA wrote:
daelm wrote:
DGA wrote:/quote]

Yes, Japanese teachers of the Meiji period and after, when "Westernizing" was the imperative. It's a semi-colonial logic at work there. If the modernizing West represented the present, and traditional Asia was the past (in the present), then the needful thing was to bring Buddhist practice and Japanese culture into the present, the now, in order to gain stature as a world power. This is a curious obverse to the generalization of meditation as a lay practice in Burma, which was a Burmese nationalist movement against British colonial power. It follows the same temporal logic (assuming the European center represents the present, and the Asian periphery lives to the present in a backward past), and enacts a similar outcome, but along a different path.
this is a nice way of treating it. the "black ships" effect. basically. i think, with a lot of colonial studies, it's hard for us to really understand the impact that steel and power and the like had. and converts that that presumed modernity, like all converts, would have been evangelical.



d

d

yes, no doubt about it. These were flesh-and-bones people doing their best under very difficult circumstances, and in the case of the Japanese Zen masters we were discussing, trying to earn the goodwill of a nation that their nation had just attacked in war (Pearl Harbor), hence the Emerson and Meister Eckhardt quotations...

i think you might be being a little too nice here, as an extension of your own good character :) Suzuki, for example, wasn't trying to please Westerners, just moderating his views and being grateful for some time that his pre-war commentary never came up. they were busking, in a new and unexpected situation, one that they had entirely been wrong about. Yastunai never moderated his views, but he did keep them under wraps for a very long time. it was only the fact that he though Kapleau, as a decade-long disciple, would never turn on him, that made him openly discuss them.


d

daelm
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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by daelm » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:05 pm

DGA wrote:
daelm wrote:
essentially, i have wondered whether this separation at the start made it easier for a range of other cultural forces to adopt the technique and re-purpose it.
sure, but that assumes that corporate mindfulness is an adapted Buddhist technique. I'm not so confident it is, even though some of its advocates think it is. Why do I say this? I think mindfulness as stress relief emerged as a novel technique in response to the generalization of stress as a diagnostic category. it's a new disease; techniques emerged to address it, such as biofeedback and the relaxation response and the rest in the 1970s, which include techniques that are MBSR in all but name. enter "mindfulness," which was named by a psychologist entirely ignorant of Buddhism (Ellen Langer) just by observing stressed out people trying to attend to the emergence of novelty in time.

So your idea works at the discursive level, and there's some continuity there in the stories that are told about mindfulness by its advocates, but the Western Buddhist narrative of mindfulness has some holes in it when you look at the archive of therapeutic interventions of the time.
i don't think it's particularly wrong applied the way Kabat-Zinn and others apply it. i have a lot of time for JKZ's application, even though it is also not dharma. a teacher i know, properly authorised and etc, is piloting a similar empirical study at the University of Edinburgh (Kagyu campus) and a friend who completed back-to-back 3-year retreats is joining that study. i don't have a problem with that, as a thing in itself, rather i think it's beneficial. i'm rather talking about the pop-culture phenomenon and all its off-shoots.


d
Last edited by daelm on Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:18 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by daelm » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:06 pm

DGA wrote: the Western Buddhist narrative of mindfulness has some holes in it when you look at the archive of therapeutic interventions of the time.

can you open that up a little more? i'm not clear what you mean here.

i knew about Langer's experiment with septuagenarians - the setting's that differed for two groups - but hadn't connected that with the use of the term mindfulness before. mindset studies seems more appropriate to her work. thanks for the headsup.

are you distinguishing between samatha/vipassanna and "mindset-management" in the dissertation? is that the thesis?



d

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by daelm » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:30 pm

daelm wrote:
DGA wrote: the Western Buddhist narrative of mindfulness has some holes in it when you look at the archive of therapeutic interventions of the time.

can you open that up a little more? i'm not clear what you mean here.

i knew about Langer's experiment with septuagenarians - the setting's that differed for two groups - but hadn't connected that with the use of the term mindfulness before. mindset studies seems more appropriate to her work. thanks for the headsup.

are you distinguishing between samatha/vipassanna and "mindset-management" in the dissertation? is that the thesis?



d
never mind :)

i went back and read your comments in sequence.



d

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Manju
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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by Manju » Fri Sep 16, 2016 2:15 am

European Enlightenment:

http://philosophy.eserver.org/foucault/ ... nment.html

Grosser Gott, ich haette nie gedacht, dass man Immanuel Kants Berigff `Aufklaerung` mit `Enlightenment` uebersetzen kann.

Eh....., I am saying:
Never assumed that the German term `Aufklaerung` could be translated as `Enlightenment`.

What a fascinating idea and often misleading as a consequence.
Will research this a bit.

Good luck with putting and/or keeping the `mindfulness discussion` on the right track there in the US.
That`s what is needed.

:thumbsup:

Manju

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by boda » Fri Sep 16, 2016 6:17 pm

DGA wrote:I'm the author of that dissertation. My point is that "mindfulness" per Kabat-Zinn, Kornfield, Brach et al is in continuity from the European Enlightenment, and not from the Buddhist traditions that mindfulness discourse relies on to legitimize itself.
The legitimacy of “mindfulness" per Kabat-Zinn, Kornfield, Brach, and others who combine Eastern meditations practices and psychology, relies primarily on these individuals and their reputations, scientific studies, as well as the reputation of Buddhist traditions.

Obviously it is in continuity from the European Enlightenment.

Is there a Western Buddhist of any sort who is not in continuity from the European Enlightenment?

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by tellyontellyon » Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:58 am

Mindfulness?


Image
“Don't you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask? Do you think life always lets itself be trifled with? Do you think you can sneak off a little before midnight to escape this?”
― Søren Kierkegaard

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by DGA » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:31 pm

I'm reading a recent article by Edwin Ng (a scholar who produces consistently interesting work) about this very topic. Read the whole thing here if you want to:

https://www.academia.edu/30267687/The_C ... nmentality


To my mind, this is the most important aspect of Ng's argument:
show that if neoliberal subjectivity must be constantly produced and maintained, then the very process of self-constitution by which neoliberal subjectivity is produced also holds the potential for its resistance and refusal.
Unpacking this a bit, and bracketing the question of whether there is such a thing as "neoliberal subjectivity": Ng is claiming that the present social order demands a kind of compliant and attentive mindset and way of being in the world that must be made and remade moment by moment. Mindfulness is an instrument of this. However, a close look at mindfulness shows that while it does refashion the status quo over and over again in the minds of the compliant, it also opens onto moments of resistance and refusal.

As it happens, this is one of the main claims I have argued elsewhere. Here, for example:

https://www.academia.edu/25482900/WHAT_ ... _OF_STRESS

The problem for Ng is that he can't really demonstrate all of that claim in a short book chapter. In the dissertation linked above, I locate the production of mindfulness as a means of stress relief as precisely what Ng is calling neoliberal governmentality. I also show how the persistent appeals to Buddhist-ness in the mindfulness scene is the primary site in which that "potential for its resistance and refusal" are articulated. This is why I claim that mindfulness undermines or negates itself, because it affirms its own opposite. In sort-of Foucaultian terms, in promoting an aspiration for a less-unfree world, mindfulness's function to delimit ones freedom is curtailed.

I bring all this up because I want to congratulate Ng on an insightful argument that largely corresponds to the historical archive (as I understand it). Much of the cultural and historical scholarship on mindfulness is anemic. This article isn't.

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by jake » Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:52 pm

DGA wrote:I'm reading a recent article by Edwin Ng (a scholar who produces consistently interesting work) about this very topic. Read the whole thing here if you want to:

https://www.academia.edu/30267687/The_C ... nmentality


To my mind, this is the most important aspect of Ng's argument:
show that if neoliberal subjectivity must be constantly produced and maintained, then the very process of self-constitution by which neoliberal subjectivity is produced also holds the potential for its resistance and refusal.
Unpacking this a bit, and bracketing the question of whether there is such a thing as "neoliberal subjectivity": Ng is claiming that the present social order demands a kind of compliant and attentive mindset and way of being in the world that must be made and remade moment by moment. Mindfulness is an instrument of this. However, a close look at mindfulness shows that while it does refashion the status quo over and over again in the minds of the compliant, it also opens onto moments of resistance and refusal.

As it happens, this is one of the main claims I have argued elsewhere. Here, for example:

https://www.academia.edu/25482900/WHAT_ ... _OF_STRESS

The problem for Ng is that he can't really demonstrate all of that claim in a short book chapter. In the dissertation linked above, I locate the production of mindfulness as a means of stress relief as precisely what Ng is calling neoliberal governmentality. I also show how the persistent appeals to Buddhist-ness in the mindfulness scene is the primary site in which that "potential for its resistance and refusal" are articulated. This is why I claim that mindfulness undermines or negates itself, because it affirms its own opposite. In sort-of Foucaultian terms, in promoting an aspiration for a less-unfree world, mindfulness's function to delimit ones freedom is curtailed.

I bring all this up because I want to congratulate Ng on an insightful argument that largely corresponds to the historical archive (as I understand it). Much of the cultural and historical scholarship on mindfulness is anemic. This article isn't.

Really interesting article, though I've only skimmed it. Thanks for making the link. The challenge, it seems, is in finding a similar vehicle (e.g. the corporate mindfulness movement) that garners sufficient attention and engagement where one can further speed up the undermining of this faulty view while at the same time promoting grounded practices and "right view." I remain stuck at this stage.

For what its worth, I've now encountered a few people who started out in the "mindfulness" / "just meditation" discourse but are now seeking out the Dharma. So, some good does come of it.
“The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in the red zone."

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by DGA » Wed Dec 14, 2016 10:04 pm

jake wrote:Really interesting article, though I've only skimmed it. Thanks for making the link. The challenge, it seems, is in finding a similar vehicle (e.g. the corporate mindfulness movement) that garners sufficient attention and engagement where one can further speed up the undermining of this faulty view while at the same time promoting grounded practices and "right view." I remain stuck at this stage.

For what its worth, I've now encountered a few people who started out in the "mindfulness" / "just meditation" discourse but are now seeking out the Dharma. So, some good does come of it.
I did that. I started out in insight meditation, read the Kornfield and Levine and Goldstein books, and Joanna Macy... and realized I was more interested in the Buddhist materials that these authors were quoting (Macy is my favorite of the insight meditation authors by a country mile) than in the rote Jungianism of what would later be called "mindfulness teachings." That was my path to Mahayana Buddhism. Like everyone else's, my dissertation was autobiographical at the core.

I think you've identified a fundamental issue, though. I think one answer comes in seeing the practical, sociable, and interactive aspects of Dharma life. Here's one way in which exposure to mindfulness can undermine mindfulness--or, rather, the unexpected consequences of inviting Thich Nhat Hanh to the Google campus

http://www.buddhistpeacefellowship.org/ ... isdom-2-0/

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by Kim O'Hara » Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:40 pm

Just a side-note: Ed Ng was a longtime member of the Theravada DW, posting as 'zavk' - see, e.g., http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=22453

:namaste:
Kim

:focus:

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by DGA » Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:14 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:Just a side-note: Ed Ng was a longtime member of the Theravada DW, posting as 'zavk' - see, e.g., http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=22453

:namaste:
Kim

:focus:
That's excellent. I've had only limited interactions with him, but I have been impressed with his scholarship.

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by DGA » Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:15 pm

I also wanted to mark that a conversation in the "whiteness" thread is highly pertinent to this conversation, particularly with regard to the role of race.

http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f= ... 20#p368959

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by Bakmoon » Fri Dec 16, 2016 5:58 pm

To what extent do we here think that the growth of the secular mindfulness movement has direct relevance for Buddhism? Generally when mindfulness is given secular 'packaging' it isn't really presented as a part of Buddhism proper, but is sort of it's own thing.

From what I have seen, the concern is really more that this type of diffusion of appropriated (any many times altered) teachings into the general culture can lead to misunderstandings about Buddhism when such people become interested in Buddhism and don't realize the differences, just blindly carrying over the new age and secular ideas in the mix.

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Re: Corporate "Mindfulness".

Post by boda » Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:06 pm

I was just thinking how odd it would be for corporate mindfulness programs to include the un-white-safe stuff.

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