Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation of Meditation

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ex-l

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Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation of Meditation

Post22 Oct 2017

Mentioned in an article about Jon Kabat-Zinn who is known pioneering mindfulness to treat pain and depression while "taking the Buddhism out of the practice".

Mindfulness courses are being rolled out in the UK to school pupils, convicts, civil servants and prescribed on the NHS to prevent recurrent depression, with 2,256 people completing eight-week courses last year.

The BKs - who have a long history of using other religion's concepts and terminology - are exploiting the interest in the idea as a marketing term, e.g their "Mindful Kitchen, or Increasing mindful awareness, to outrightly pirating it, or here, here and here (Mindfulness in Nature or Mindfulness Meditation), applying it to and selling their practise with it.

Mindfulness is also being used in conjunction with Cognitive Therapy in Prevention of Depressive Relapse.
Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation and Prescriptive Agenda for Research on Mindfulness and Meditation by Nicholas T. Van Dam, Marieke K. van Vugt, David R. Vago and others.

Abstract

During the past two decades, mindfulness meditation has gone from being a fringe topic of scientific investigation to being an occasional replacement for psychotherapy, tool of corporate well-being, widely implemented educational practice, and “key to building more resilient soldiers.” Yet the mindfulness movement and empirical evidence supporting it have not gone without criticism. Misinformation and poor methodology associated with past studies of mindfulness may lead public consumers to be harmed, misled, and disappointed. Addressing such concerns, the present article discusses the difficulties of defining mindfulness, delineates the proper scope of research into mindfulness practices, and explicates crucial methodological issues for interpreting results from investigations of mindfulness. For doing so, the authors draw on their diverse areas of expertise to review the present state of mindfulness research, comprehensively summarizing what we do and do not know, while providing a prescriptive agenda for contemplative science, with a particular focus on assessment, mindfulness training, possible adverse effects, and intersection with brain imaging. Our goals are to inform interested scientists, the news media, and the public, to minimize harm, curb poor research practices, and staunch the flow of misinformation about the benefits, costs, and future prospects of mindfulness meditation.
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Pink Panther

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Re: Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation of Meditation

Post22 Oct 2017

Oh yes. Fully agree. Mindfulness is a modern term that has almost become colloquial everyday language. As it is used as a ”technique” for many of the things mentioned in the article, it’s really used as an antidote to the current disease of distraction and short attention spans.

The BK use of it is disingenuous to say the least.
    Mindfulness is about presence, BK meditation is absence (or if you prefer, transcendence).

    Mindfulness is about being here, BK meditation is about being somewhere else ( Soul World, Subtle Regions, imaging the Golden Age etc).

    Mindfulness is about giving full attention to the person in front of you, really listening, accepting them for what they are and who they are. BK meditation is about keeping ”Baba” in mind and ” in-between" you and the other, judging the value of what the other says or does according to a prescribed set of BK-approved values and according to the ”status” of the person saying it (are they BK or not? Are they senior BK or junior?)

    Mindfulness is about noticing what is happening now, in my mind and body, without judgement or consideration of right or wrong, good or bad, why or why not. BK is about determining which are worthy according to ’sri mat’ or unworthy, bodyconscious, distractions or "waste thoughts” and shutting off from what is happening around you, ignoring the thoughts that keep popping up and replacing them with ”BK approved” thoughts, .

    Mindfulness is about noticing, noting, accepting what is as it is, as a precursor to acting to change it, a kind of CBT for everyday situations. BK is about dismissing the rest of the world as tamoguni, lowest of the low, fag end of kali yug, a hopeless case that is best left to destroy itself while BKs wish themselves into a better tommorrow
The end result of mindfulness is living a full life here and now, regardless of what you do while the end result of BK meditation and teachings is live absently from the here and now and the only fulfilling thing to do is what you do for the BKs or according to the BKs.
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yogamaya

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Re: Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation of Meditation

Post27 Oct 2017

Pink Panther wrote:Mindfulness is about noticing what is happening now, in my mind and body, without judgement or consideration of right or wrong, good or bad, why or why not. BK is about determining which are worthy according to ’sri mat’ or unworthy

Another degeneration and perversion of an originally good-intended word/term ... the BKs did it with the word "Raja-Yoga", then the word "Meditation" itself, then "Awakening"... and now I am coming to know about "Mindfulness" from you guys.

Pathetic!
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ex-l

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Re: Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation of Meditation

Post01 Nov 2017

yogamaya wrote:the BKs did it with the word "Raja-Yoga", then the word "Meditation" itself, then "Awakening"... and now I am coming to know about "Mindfulness" from you guys.

Yes, it's fairly audacious when, at the same time, they claim to be the true source of all spirituality and religion ... and yet so many or all of their ideas are second hand, and just given a new twist.

A point I made a while ago on this forum is that this is not surprising, given Lekhraj Kirpalani's background and culture as a Bhaibund Sindhi.

The Bhaibund weren't creators. They became rich and influential through being entrepreneurs, taking other castes products and selling elsewhere, and by running a very clever, clandestine and offer semi-illegal international trading networking.

When I say "semi-illegal", I don't mean they were into contraband. I refer to their secretive nature and cleverness at evading duty and taxation. Traditionally, the Bhaibund employed Amils who developed their own secretive code languages and bought low and sold high to foreigners elsewhere. They went from typically using Amils as their day to day managers, to using often using Gujeratis (Patels) instead. It's notable how many of the middle management of overseas BK centres were Patels, while the heads remained Sindi.

I argued that BKism was just an extension of Bhaibund enterprise not just based on its form, but based on its trading networks, ie that the BKs expanded along them and with support of emigrant Sindis overseas.

Seeing this natural connection opened up the core structure of BKism for me. Of course, the structure has modified itself slightly to include Western influences and now second "spiritual" ideas are being traded from overseas, back to India; mindfulness, Taoism, New Age, corporate consulting and so on.

The genius of the trade is that includes very little physical stock and is compromsed largely of intangible "mental" products, the trade of other peoples' cultures' and ideas. And they really don't give a damn about respecting those peoples intellectual property.

"If Taoism sell, we'll label it The Tao. If there is a rush on Mindfulness is the market of ideas, we'll repacking it as Mindful. If student interest is down, but corporate interest is up, we'll remarketing ourselves to appeal to them", and so on.

It's the rule of "what ever works" to keep income flowing and revenues up. Expedience rather than integrity.

They are still merchants (Vaishya) in "the business of god", nor Brahmins, leading to the light.

Try the idea out, and correct or criticise it, if it is wrong. FYI, there was no real difference between the Bhaibund and Amil, and fluidity between the two, except that the Amil tended to be more studious academic and Bhaibund valued, or were more suitable for, business rather than education.

castes.jpg
castes.jpg (30.62 KiB) Viewed 1417 times


As far as I understand, the Bhatia were an outcast Kshatriya (warrior) caste, having lost their lands due to decisions made by the British East India Company who assigned it to the shudras, so you have the roughly divided Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya (merchant) castes. As with everything, the BKs teach a very dumbed down and simplified caste theory while claiming to be the topknot of it all.

Social ascendency, social climbing, working their way up "the greasy pole", is also part of their DNA.
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yogamaya

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Re: Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation of Meditation

Post06 Nov 2017

ex-I wrote:
    ○ They are still merchants (Vaishya) in "the business of god", nor Brahmins, leading to the light.

    ○ The genius of the trade is that includes very little physical stock and is compromsed largely of intangible "mental" products, the trade of other peoples' cultures' and ideas. And they really don't give a damn about respecting those peoples intellectual property.

    ○ It's the rule of "what ever works" to keep income flowing and revenues up. Expedience rather than integrity.

Nicely summed up!

Thanks for sharing the graphic from page 32 of Cosmopolitan Connections: The Sindhi Diaspora, 1860-2000, by Mark-Anthony Falzon.

I am not sure about the caste of the Bhatias cause I have read that in many places like Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Kutch (in particular) they are treated more like a community (rather than a caste) who claim pure Rajput ancestry but later on migrated to several states from the vicinity of Multan (Pakistan) during Mogul triumphs and accepted Vaishnavism sect of Hindu religion and trade as their occupation. They also started to marry local women.

Then there is another theory in Punjab that Bhatias consist of the Gujjars and Jatts. In fact, the Gujjars and Jatts are classified as Other Backward Class (OBC), and fall under a pastoral agricultural ethnic group.

In Sindh, the Pokarno and Saraswat Brahmins have mostly looked after the interest, welfare, and promotion of religious rituals, culture, and heritage of Brahmanism.

As far as I am aware, next to Brahmins are the Vaishyas and consist of not just two but five sub-castes in Sindh, that is Lohana, Bhatia, Sehta, Vaishya and Punjabi. Among the Lohanas, the government job holders were mostly Amils and the Bhaibunds famous as traders (Baniya).

The Sindhi diaspora as a whole have mostly focused on selling and trading via the Vaishiya sub-castes and promoting Hinduism via Brahmins. They have never really focused on academic literature with a few exceptions. Hence, we see that there is no full-length contemporary work on the Hindu Sindhi diaspora in terms of anthropology and ethnology. This is about all that know on this topic.

I appreciate the way you have connected the dots to highlight the identity crisis among the Sindhis post partition of the British India.

I may be generalizing, but this identity crisis situation has surely boosted the growth of newly emerging and competing cults like the Brahma Kumaris, the Radha Swami sect, and the Sadhu Vaswani sect.
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yogamaya

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Re: Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation of Meditation

Post06 Nov 2017

Pink Panther wrote in Didi Manmohini:

Kumarka did travel more than Manmohini. Kumarka famously revealed while answering a question about karma and WW2 that she did not know who Hitler was. That and further enquiry showed that their education was as limited and biased as any student of a Taliban Madrasa - totally geared to the religion, ignorant of objective truths.

Another evident result of lack of self-esteem, apart from identity-crisis, was lack of both, formal education, and the habit of being well read.

It seems by remaining ignorant it is easy for them to convince themselves that whatever new words like Raja Yoga, Corporate Spirituality, and now Mindfulness are introduced to them, they feel these are actually their own copyright, courtesy the 5000-year wheel of Drama. It is their own invented stuff that the Shudras reveal as knowledge emerges to them.

The BKs consider themselves as the Father of all things ever discovered, invented, or revealed ...

Image

... like some kind of casual loop of the time travel paradox! Funny and naively dangerous at the same time.
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Re: Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation of Meditation

Post06 Nov 2017

yogamaya wrote:I may be generalizing, but this identity crisis situation has surely boosted the growth of newly emerging and competing cults like the Brahma Kumaris, the Radha Swami sect, and the Sadhu Vaswani sect.

We know the original Sadhu Vaswani took sides against the corruptive influences of the Om Mandli.

Personally, I think there was an puerile element of competitiveness, or "Keeping up with the Joneses" (aka "Keeping up with the Vaswanis"?), in Lekhraj Kirpalani posturing. For example, Sadhu Vaswani had a very genuine and sincere girls school/college, so Lekhraj Kirpalani had to have his one. The difference being that Sadhu Vaswani's was genuinely educating females and continues to do so, successfully, until this day.

Even now, while the BK attempt to infiltrate commerce through their Self Management Leadership course, Sadhu Vaswani sect has a Sadhu Vaswani Institute of Management Studies For Girls that prepares them fro the real world.
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yogamaya

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Re: Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation of Meditation

Post06 Nov 2017

Sadhu Vaswani Institute of Management Studies for Girls have stated:

FEES

Final Fee for the A.Y. 2017-18 is Tution Fee Rs.65,909/- + Devlopment Fee Rs. 6,591/- Total Fee Rs.72,500/-

Agreed ex-I, this is some commendable stuff that the Sadu Vaswani sect is into. They are "really" into educating and empowering women, and not some hocus-focus, over-hyped pseudo self-management.

Also, if we do a comparative analysis of the fee structure of the other B-Schools in India, it noteworthy that the SVIMS have it lower, and that too for a full-time course.

What amazes me is that, despite all the schools and colleges in India are required to be opened by a charitable trust, and despite getting government aid and donations, they all focus on the income through education rather than on the outcome!

Even the primary education is not free in India, if it is of an International standard. Sad! :sad:

But that's a different issue altogether.
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Re: Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation of Meditation

Post06 Nov 2017

Sadhu Vaswani's original school for Sindhi girls was St Mira's, established in 1933.

Unlike Lekhraj Kirpalani, Vaswani was actually educations, gaining an MA by the aged of 22. As a boy, he first learned the Upanishads from a Brahmin from Bengal who adopted Christianity and later in his lifetime, was recognized as a skilled interpreter of the Bible and the Qur'an. He became a professor of History and Philosophy, and then of English and Philosophy, before participating in the Indian independence movement. He was an early supporter of Mahatma Gandhi's Non-Cooperation Movement whereas Lekhraj Kirpalani took sides with the British and called Gandhi and his supporters "traitors" and "the crow race", and insulted them broadly.

Sadhu Vaswani devoted his life to serve god, whereas Lekhraj Kirpalani decided he was God ... which, paradoxically, would have meant Sadhu Vaswani should have served him!!!

One has to ask how, if Lekhraj Kirpalani and the BKs were so "guided by God", they got it so diametrically wrong time and time again?

Now it seems Vaswani followers and playing it politically correct and keep reasonable relationships with the BKs. It would be worth talking to the older followers about the history though. I suspect there was a degree of envy and emulation on Lekhraj Kirpalani's behalf towards the position Vaswani held.

Funnily enough, one of the early criticism of Om Mandli, who it was claimed was an "educational" facility, was that they did nothing but sit around and work out ways of trying to encult people into the cult.

Little changes ...

Reading up on Vaswani I feel a little ashamed at how I joined in with the Brahma Kumaris mocking him for being a member of the "Anti-Party". See; here and elsewhere. Vaswani also had a trust and a cooperative business managed by women, before Lekhraj Kirpalani his "women led" front to his activities.
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Re: Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation of Meditation

Post09 Nov 2017

How the mighty or all mighty has been stooping? I do recall that 30 plus years ago a Brother who returned to his native land from studies abroad was greeted with much negative energies by the center-in-charge, a non-practicing physician. The center-in-charge Sister, an Indian was opposed to the tried and true intellectual approaches of the Brother. Today I marvel at the ways the BKs eat up ideas presented by the Brother and opposed 30 plus years ago.

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