Why Mindfulness Cannot Be Sold
It's easy to package up mindfulness like anything else and sell it for a profit. But, is that really what's being sold? Or is it something else?
The truth of mindfulness doesn't lie in words or concepts, but rather in direct experience.
It's not very different than a pushup. You can read about one, or you can do one. Both activities are related to a pushup, but they yield two entirely different outcomes.
Anything related to mindfulness that is sold, cannot be mindfulness itself. At best, it can only be a pointer to the truth. At worst, in some cases, it can lead us away from truth, and deeper into a state of unconsciousness.
I was recently having a conversation with a friend, trying to explain what presence and awareness was, but to little avail. I felt like I was trying to "sell" it, not monetarily, but still in hopes that they would "buy in" mentally.
It wasn't until after the fact that I realized it would've been better to just sit there and breathe with them for an hour, rather than trying to explain anything. If in fact my goal was to have them experience what presence felt like, I didn't need to say a word.
Mindfulness or spirituality are unlike religion in that, words only point to the truth, but they are not themselves the truth.
Religion often points to concepts, ideals, or behaviors as the truth. Mindfulness, or spirituality for that matter, uses words and teachings to point to a truth within you. With mindfulness, no thought is required to know the truth. Only direct experience.
And this is why mindfulness cannot be sold. It's something that's always available to you, if you're inclined to wake up.
Trying to buy mindfulness would be like trying to buy a device to taste food. First of all, such a device does not exist. Second of all, you already have that device built into your body. Why would you need to buy it?
Jon Kabat-Zinn has a great way of defining mindfulness as the awareness that arises from paying attention on purpose in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.
To me, the "on purpose" part is the most important, since that's what I find typically separates mindfulness from mindlessness.
He points out that it's easy to think we're aware, but we ought to question, how aware are we really? Are we fully available to ourselves, or to each other, from moment to moment?
Of course we're aware when we're driving or sitting in a business meeting, but are we aware that we're aware?
That's the key difference which has helped me turn off autopilot and drop into the present moment. It's the intentional, non-judgmental awareness which brings about presence. This cannot be sold, for you already have it within you.
Mindfulness is a state of being. There's no price you could pay to invoke this within yourself. You don't need to buy anything to live mindfully. All you have to do is learn to live life with no agenda other than to be awake, to be here.
This experience right now is as great as it can be, simply because you're here, alive for it, and you didn't have to pay anything.
Live with substance!