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  • Mindfulness is very much in vogue at this moment as many of you probably know. And it's

  • often taught as though it were a glorified version of an executive stress ball. It's

  • a tool you want in your tool kit. It prepares you emotionally to go into a new experience

  • with a positive attitude and you know you're not hauling around baggage from the past.

  • And that's true. Actually having focus and having your mind in the present moment is

  • a little bit of a superpower in situations that we're all in from day to day. But that

  • actually undervalues what mindfulness really is and its true potential. It's more like

  • the large hadron collider in that it's a real tool for making some fundamental discoveries

  • about the nature of the mind. And one of these discoveries is that the sense of self that

  • we all carry around from day to day is an illusion. And cutting through that illusion

  • I think is actually more important than stress reduction or any of the other conventional

  • benefits that are accurately ascribed to mindfulness.

  • The enemy of mindfulness and really of any meditation practice is being lost in thought,

  • is to be thinking without knowing that you're thinking. Now the problem is not thoughts

  • themselves. We need to think. We need to think to do almost anything that makes us human

  • to reason, to plan, to have social relationships, to do science. Thinking is indispensable to

  • us but most of us spend every moment of our waking lives thinking without knowing that

  • we're thinking. And this automaticity is a kind of scrim thrown over at the present

  • moment through which we view everything. And it's distorting of our lives. It's distorting

  • of our emotions. It engineers our unhappiness in every moment because most of what we think

  • is quite unpleasant. We're judging ourselves, we're judging others, we're worrying about

  • the future, we're regretting the past, we're at war with our experience in subtle or coarse

  • ways. And much of this self-talk is unpleasant and diminishing our happiness in every moment.

  • And so meditation is a tool for cutting through that.

  • It's interrupting this continuous conversation we're having with ourselves. So that is

  • that in and of itself is beneficial. But there are features of our experience that

  • we don't notice when we're lost in thought. So, for instance, every experience you've

  • ever had, every emotion, the anger you felt yesterday or a year ago isn't here anymore.

  • It arises and it passes away. And if it comes back in the present moment by virtue of your

  • thinking about it again, it will subside again when you're no longer thinking about it.

  • Now this is something that people tend not to notice because we rather than merely feel

  • an emotion like anger, we spend our time thinking of all the reasons why we have every right

  • to be angry. And so the conversation keeps this emotion in play for much, much longer

  • than its natural half-life. And if you're able, through mindfulness to interrupt this

  • conversation and simply witness the feeling of anger as it arises you'll find that you

  • can't be angry for more than a few moments at a time. If you think you can be angry for

  • a day or even an hour without continually manufacturing this emotion by thinking without

  • knowing that you're thinking, you're mistaken. And this is something you can just witness

  • for yourself. This isagain this is an objective truth claim about the nature of

  • subjective experience. And it's testable. And mindfulness is the tool that you would

  • use to test it.

  • One problem is that most of the people who teach mindfulnessand I know many of the

  • great vipassana teachers in the West and in the East and I have immense respect for these

  • people. I learned to meditate in a traditionally Buddhist context. But most people who teach

  • mindfulness are still in the religion business. They're stillthey're propagating

  • Western Buddhism or American Buddhism. The connection to the tradition of Buddhism in

  • particular is explicit and I think there are problems with that because when you, if you

  • are declaring yourself a Buddhist you are part of the problem of religious sectarianism

  • that has needlessly shattered our world. And I think we have to get out of the religion

  • business. That whatever is true about mindfulness and meditation and any introspective methodology

  • that will deliver truths about the nature of consciousness is non-sectarian. It's

  • no more Buddhist than physics is Christian. You know the Christians invented physics or

  • discovered physics but anyone talking about Christian physics clearly doesn't understand

  • the significance of what we've understood through that means. It's the same with meditation.

  • There's going to come a time where we no longer are tempted to talk about Buddhist

  • meditation as opposed to any other form. We're just talking about turning consciousness upon

  • itself and what can be discovered by that process.

  • Now it just so happens that Buddhism almost uniquely has given us a language and a methodology

  • to do this in a way that is really well designed for export to secular culture because you

  • can get to the core truths of Buddhism, the truth of selflessness, the ceaseless impermanence

  • of mental phenomenon, the intrinsic unsatisfactoriness of experience because you can't hold on

  • to anything. No matter how pleasant an experience is it arises and then passes away. And no

  • matter how much you protect yourself, unpleasant experience is destined to come. These features

  • of our minds can be fully tested and understood without believing anything on insufficient

  • evidence. So it's true to say that despite all of the spooky metaphysics and unjustified

  • claims within Buddhism you can get to the core of it without any faith claim and without

  • being intellectually dishonest. But it is intellectually dishonest, I think, to keep

  • talking about these truths in an exclusively Buddhist context because it's misleading.

  • It subtly gives the message that in order to have rich, meaningful, important spiritual

  • lives we must somehow continue to endorse religious sectarianism. We must still frame

  • this inquiry with an ancient allegiance to one accidental strand of human culture as

  • opposed to using all of the concepts and tools and conversations that are available to us

  • in the twenty-first century.

Mindfulness is very much in vogue at this moment as many of you probably know. And it's

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Sam Harris:Mindfulness is Powerful, but Keep Religion Out of it(心智是強大的,但不要把宗教扯進來) (Sam Harris: Mindfulness is Powerful, But Keep Religion Out of It)

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    abovelight 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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