To understand mindfulness (of a certain meditative type) you have to understand the issue of Subject-Object duality.

Subject-Object duality is a vestige of our predatory nature: a life-form (such as you) eyes (sees) another life-form; zooms in, focuses, attends… to see if this other life-form is fit to eat; subject-object duality is born: “I” want “it.”  This is our evolutionary past: our attention evolved to track patterns.

To attend is to objectify, to turn an aspect of reality into an “object,” into a “thing.”  When you objectify an aspect of your environment at the very same time you are also objectifying yourself, turning your unconditional sense of being into a “thing” called “self.”  Indeed, to attend to the Other is to distill yourself into a stand-alone Self out of the oneness of what surrounds you. Immersed in all that is at a baseline, we pop out of this anonymity of mindlessness as soon as we begin to track and hunt patterns.

We are first and foremost informational hunter-gatherers.

So then what is mindfulness?  Mindfulness is a return to this primordial oneness in which you no longer differentiate between yourself and your object of attention, between Self and Other, between Ego and Eco, between Subject and Object.

Mindfulness is, in a sense, a collapse of Subject-Object duality.  Put differently, mindfulness is a form of mindlessness of self (a forgetting of self, a state of no-self, a state of pattern-indifference, a state of no-mind).

To sum up: mind is a pattern-hunger; mindfulness is the satisfaction of this hunger through letting go of the pattern.

Take home message?  Mindfulness is hard because we have evolved to gather information and track patterns.  Letting go of self (and of the pattern at the same time) feels counter-productive, even unsafe.  Yet – in my meditative experience – there is an altogether different kind of safety in letting go and dropping out like that.  Try it sometime.  And have patience for that monkey-mind that keeps looking for a banana-pattern to grasp.

ps: this only applies to certain kinds of meditative mindfulness, the kind of mindfulness states that are designed to approximate an experience of oneness; but, of course, there are other kinds of mindfulness as well – the kind in which you heighten Subject-Object duality through hyper-attentive focus; curiously, if pursued to a certain degree of depth, these meditative roads, eventually, lead to the same meditative Rome.

Woman’s eye photo available from Shutterstock.

 


Comments


View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 0 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.






    Last reviewed: 15 Apr 2012

APA Reference
Somov, P. (2012). Mindfulness Is a Mindlessness of Self. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 21, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindful-living/2012/04/mindfulness-is-a-mindlessness-of-self/

 

Reinventing the Meal
Reinventing the Meal
Present Perfect
Eating the Moment
The Lotus Effect The Smoke-Free Smoke Break
Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. is the author of The Lotus Effect, Present Perfect, The Smoke-Free Smoke Break, and Eating the Moment: 141 Mindful Practices to Overcome Overeating One Meal at a Time.


Subscribe to this Blog:
Feed


Or Get a Single, Daily Email (enter email address):

via FeedBurner



Recent Comments
  • Joan Winifred: Hand stitch…or machine? Seamless (yet not meaningless) Nice needlework aka poetry:)
  • best honeymoon resort: Cancun has got several golfing clubs with scenic locations that are considered to be a few of...
  • Garage Remodeling: Omg. Great style. Exactly how did an individual make absolute sure it had sufficient place and...
  • Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.: I follow. Well said. Thank you.
  • oldblackdog: This is a reaction to A Snapshot of Self” I used to “do” a lot of photography, old...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!