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Mindful : October 2015
beyond the buzz MYTH 1 Mindfulness fixes something that’s wrong with you What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I do this? I’m so bad at it. I’m just bad altogether. My mind is a scattered mess! These other people seem fine. Everyone who has ever meditated, or tried any- thing new—playing the g uitar, becoming a par- ent, snowboarding—has had thoughts like these running through their head. Often repeatedly, and in a downward spiral that ends with “I’m not cut out for this. I’m no good. I quit.” It’s an odd trait we humans have. We like to beat up on ourselves. We like to say, “ the problem with you/me is...” And popular medita- tion literature can provide lots of adjectives to complete that sentence: Too distracted Too speedy Too negative Too spaced out Too etcetera All of them lead to corresponding ideas of what meditation must be like. We’ll solve these problems! Heads vacuumed free of thought, utterly undistracted, we’ll go to a special place where each and every moment is momentous. We’ll be...wait for it, cue flute music...Meditating. But it’s not like that. Meditation is not getting to a fixed destina- tion. It’s exploring. We get to venture into the workings of our minds: our sensations (air blow- ing on our skin or a harsh smell wafting into the Barry Boyce is editor-in-chief of Mindful magazine and mindful.org and editor of The Mindfulness Revolution. 34 mindful October 2015 mindfulness