Sitting still and doing nothing is as crude a description of Mindfulness practice as the description can get. Why? I’d like to quote a few words from wise old Dumbledore, “Of course it’s all happening in your head Harry. But why in the world does that mean that it’s not real?” The therapeutic benefits of construct mindfulness and its practice have been researched and proven. Disregarding it under the larger debate of class structures and oppression as an opiate propagating false consciousness may then as well be extended to all psychiatric interventions intended to benefit patients of mental disorders or, in the context of this course, dis-ease.
Mental disorders and disease(s) are personal problems of vulnerable audiences requiring specific interventions which could very well incorporate mindfulness practice. As someone who has personally suffered from social anxiety and toxic attachment, the non-discriminatory aspect of mindfulness has been highly soothing, especially when coupled with Mark Manson’s advice to “recognize what needs to be given a **** about in life.” Commercialization of such mindfulness practice, consequently, can have similarly beneficial effects for vulnerable audiences in need of such treatment. That being said; in pursuit of the supposed access that commercialization brings, we shouldn’t forget its shortcomings either.
Mindfulness is, at its core, a subjective and personal experience and if tenets of commercialization are embossed into it then sweeping generalizations and standardizations may follow. What may result is that the practice is embellished and adulterated to cater to the lowest common denominator, possibly white, middle-aged suburban people dealing with midlife crises by trying “secular Eastern” practices. Consequently, the practice may benefit some while excluding vast segments of populations which may have alternatively benefitted if such commercialization hadn’t taken place.
This is especially probable if the industry, instead of being distributed into regional practice courses and centers, is managed centrally by a solitary firm or agency. The lack of personal maintenance and adaptation, coupled with the denial of some forms of mindfulness experiences as “valid”, may very well render the entire notion absolutely insoluble with segments of populations which the commercialization, advertisement and operation doesn’t cater to. In short, if the personal nature of the mindfulness practice is lost on people and instead a centralizing and homogenizing agency determines which forms of practice are valid and which are not, then the practice may stop holding and providing any meaning altogether.
That being said; commercialization does bring access to classrooms, the military and the boardrooms and, if implemented in a diverse and personal manner, could enhance the productivity and actions manifested within such environments. Consecutively, in the simplest terms, if seaside meditation can be paid for and is indeed beneficial for some people then its access via commercialization is not a problem as long as we continue to recognize that mindfulness as therapy should not only be available to and cater to people who can afford such seaside meditation. In pursuit of profits, the people that mindfulness practice is intended for shouldn’t be forgotten.