Mindfulness and World Peace – really?
So, what has mindfulness got to do with doing our bit for a more peaceful world? Well, more than you might think actually.
As well as getting more okay in our skins and crucially, okay when we are not okay; mindfulness invites us to examine ourselves more deeply, in other words we have the opportunity develop some emotional intelligence.
In these current tumultuous times of ‘react first, worry about out the facts later’, I would like to propose this is vitally important if we are to avoid the catastrophes of the past.
It’s very easy, when we are not aware of the internal forces that drive us, to blame others for being ‘bad’. This can be subtle and happens on an individual level with family, friends and work colleagues. But it is also happening in wider society with deeply dark and dangerous consequences.
Creating an ‘un-real other’ is an extreme example of how we can condemn a group that is different from us and assign ‘them’ with the same negative label; maybe those with whom we politically disagree, for example. A social group perhaps carry the brunt of one or two individuals who crossed our paths and pissed us off big-time. Without the application of logic and emotional intelligence, everyone gets bundled together and labelled as, I don’t know, complete and utter bastards.
Even more insidious and often fuelled with that deadly mix of ignorance and absolute certainty, is when people blame and turn against those of a different race, colour or religion. Both illogical and morally abhorrent, in my view. But then I guess I’m judging and condemning them too, creating yet another ‘unreal’ other! Oh dear it’s a conundrum and pickle alright.
It’s just so convenient and bonding (with those in ‘our gang’) to shame and vilify a collective without inquiring into ourselves what are the causes and conditions of our internal reaction. As well of course investigating the facts and questioning our evidence. Being willing to be wrong – why not?
I don’t mean to lecture, I’ve definitely a couple of social groups that I judge collectively. For starters, I cannot stand over privileged women, who have a ‘life a bit too easy for my liking’ and live in South West London (it’s postcode specific). ‘They’ swan about in their four wheel drives yelling at the nanny for not stopping little Crispin and Tabatha from scoffing their third pack of organic Bear Yo Yo fruity bars. There’s no logic in this (I mean my condemnation, not the organic healthy snack choice).
Once we become more aware, our triggers do not disappear as such, however we become willing to question the validity of our beliefs. Crucially, we can inquire as to whether there is an ‘unmet need’ within us that causes us to project our crap onto others. At the same time we learn to hold the part of ourselves that is hurt and more than a little bit miffed, in shed loads of loving kindness.
I’m not saying if we all started practising mindfulness it would be like, cats-baby-wow world peace sorted. There are of course many many ways up the mountain and mindfulness is just one of them. But at it’s core, MM is about kindness, compassion and understanding for ourselves and others. And God knows, don’t we need this now more than ever? Even those four wheel drive bitches in SW13. Ooops.