Hello out there, all you lovely people. I hope you are well and don’t mind reading an old post of mine. I am re-posting it on the date I originally published it but I know that WordPress gives you a message on the reader anyway. So please don’t wonder, why I post a Monday post on a Saturday ;-). Here we go:
Last week I read an article in The Telegraph about the views of Theodore Zeldin, an Oxford University professor about Mindfulness. The journalist Sarah Knapton called the piece “Mindfulness is stopping the world from thinking” and explains Professor Zeldin’s views: Meditation and clearing your mind from thought seems to him a waste of time. He believes it makes people stop thinking. His advice: Go out there and meet the people around you and forget about yourself.
My thought: Old-fashioned ivory tower academic
I immediately thought: Old-fashioned ivory tower academic who has never tried a bit of meditation in his life. Well, don’t get me wrong I believe he is an excellent academic, and the questions he tries to answer according to Wikipedia seem more than liable and vital:
– Where can a person look to find more inspiring ways of spending each day and each year?
– What ambitions remain unexplored, beyond happiness, prosperity, faith, love, technology or therapy?
– What role could there be for individuals with independent minds, or who feel isolated or different, or misfits?
I bet he has brilliant ideas and make you think in different ways than before and I appreciate these things a lot.
Asians practice Mindfulness since millennia.
However, there is a tradition of meditation of millennia in Asia and considering the achievements of ancient China and India do not seem to me like a waste of time. These people followed the practice of Mindfulness, and it looks like they have been very much in this world, went out to meet other people and lived their life to the fullest.
My experience with Mindfulness
Besides my experience with being mindful is the exact opposite of what he describes: It has made me much more aware of what is going on in this world and made me also act. I believe that is what Mindfulness is all about. It is not fleeing from the world; it is being in this world fully present.
How can you think clearly when your mind is full of clutter?
His view of people doing meditation and practising Mindfulness seems to be that of brainless idiots. However, if you look at those who are in the “thinking” business, e.g. academics: you will find that they often need to go for a walk or do other activities to clear their minds to have a profound thought process again. After all, how can you think clearly if your mind is full of clutter as there is so much more information thrown at us today than in earlier days?
I agree with Professor Zeldin on one point though
At the Hay Festival, he suggested going out and make relationships with those who have different views. Not an easy task, in my opinion. I am not sure I can be very successful in building a relationship with him, to be honest. Still, I agree it is essential to do so.
Does he do though what he preaches?
I wonder though if he does what he preaches. Has he been out there to speak with practitioners of Mindfulness? Has he made relationships with those who supposedly are only interested in themselves? I don’t know, and the feeling I get from the article is that he rather is looking for some attention in the media as he offers an opinion that goes right against the grain of time.
What do you think?
I wonder what you think about Mindfulness and professor Zeldin’s point of view. Please let me know.
This post takes part in Colleens wonderful Mindful Monday meme. Please head over to find more brilliantly mindful posts.