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This is exactly how mindfulness can heal our world and make it a better place to live

It’s hard to have a civil conversation with someone when they are on different pages of the book. There is no end in sight for this political climate.

It seems like nobody knows how we got here or why things happen as fast as they do without warning from one day being normal the next until finally something clicks – only then do you realize there has been an inflexion point where your thoughts become more toxic than ever before because now all those little mental habits which kept us sane start hurting our brains instead of helping.

That is why mindfulness needs to be adopted in our political circles more.

Read how Aaron Ross Powell explains this

Good politics demands virtuous citizens, because only virtuous citizens can be skillful citizens. Our political culture instead incentivizes vice, creating problems that go deeper than bad policies. Politics makes us worse.

Imagine a virtuous person. How will she behave? What trains of character will she embody? Philosophers and theologians have debated those questions for eons, but it’s possible to establish a broadly acceptable basic sketch: A virtuous person will be ethical, mindful, and wise. Yet our political sphere tells us to be precisely the opposite, provides us with strong incentives to do so, and then celebrates and rewards those among us who stray the furthest from that virtuous ideal.

Let’s start with ethics. In our interactions with others, the two most basic rules, taught in kindergartens around the world, are “don’t hit people” and “don’t take their stuff.” While we should also seek to help each other, at the minimum we should avoid causing harm or taking from others what they haven’t given freely. Yet the political sphere fundamentally depends on rejecting both mandates. The state’s power comes from its ability to bring violence to bear, and everything the state does is paid for with resources its citizens were forced to turn over.

When you and I enter the political sphere, we engage with each other in ways impermissible in the rest of civil society. We do hit each other, or at least ask someone else to do the hitting on our behalf. We do take from each other, or at least ask someone else to take for us. What’s worse, we don’t approach such acts with a recognition of their troubling nature or any sense of caution about their misuse. Instead, we view political action as admirable and sneer at anyone who refuses to participate. Yes, there might be times when applying violence really is the only way. But our culture sees politics as the first solution, not the last resort.


Mindfulness – the Buddhist-derived meditative practice of cultivating attention to the present moment – has become a secular global phenomenon.

Analysis for its political significance remains rare, despite actors’ popularisation and critiques against commodified instrumentalized “McMindfulness”.

This article argues that mindfulness exemplifies how technologies occupy critical contested space between reproducing contemporary power relations while also challenging them; it does so through themes such as de-politicizing practices (or lack thereof) construction/de-representation of neo-liberal subjectivity).

‘Mindfulness’ is a translation from the Pali word sati. Scholars have debated the extent to which this translation should imply variants of ‘memory’ or ‘attention’ (Bodhi 2013; Gethin 2013), but it is the latter which has underpinned its secular development. The most widely drawn-on definition is that of Jon Kabat-Zinn, the leading figure in popularizing secular Mindfulness having translated it from Buddhism into Western clinical settings (Arthington 2016; Nehring and Frawley 2020). For Kabat-Zinn (1994, 4):

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally. This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity and acceptance of present moment reality.

Mindfulness based on this understanding constitutes a widespread social practice and technology of the self (Foucault 1982): it has a relationship to both Buddhism and clinical applications, but is not wholly reducible to either (see Davies 2016, 259). This ‘blending’ and mass diffusion of Mindfulness has been systematically, historically mapped by Nehring and Frawley (2020). Basic Mindfulness techniques have proliferated well beyond Buddhist and clinical settings, and are routinely accessed by users including those who neither identify as Buddhist nor as engaging in a clinical process. This occurs, for example, via a choice of over a thousand Mindfulness phone apps such as Headspace (Garlick 2017). A non-Buddhist/non-clinical orientation is also characteristic in the presentation of Mindfulness programmes in, for example, schools (Hyde and LaPrad 2015; Weare 2019), among legislators (Bristow 2019) or in workplaces.


In a world that seems to be constantly filled with chaos and disharmony, it’s more important than ever to practice mindfulness. Not only can it help you on a personal level, but it can also have positive ripple effects for the country as a whole.

If we all started practising mindfulness, we could finally see real progress in our political system. Thanks for reading!

Team MindClockWork

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