To take a straw yet real example, consider the phrase “mindfulness for sales”.  This is so against the purpose of mindfulness it hurts me.  On an object level you can’t do mindfulness for any particular thing.  Mindfulness gets you in touch with what is already there.  It could help your sales or it could make you realize you hate sales and need to quit today. Your higher brain can choose when to engage in mindfulness when it predicts particular benefits, but if you go into it gunning for a particular outcome you won’t get anything at all.

“Mindfulness for relaxation” is not nearly as bad, but it still bugs me.  You can’t choose what emotion predominates at any given time.  If you have a lot of negative emotions running around (because, say, your nerve damage is acting up and your job pulled you off a useful project where you were learning a lot and pushed you onto a project no one asked for requiring skills you don’t have and aren’t given time to properly learn), mindfulness will be painful.  If you continue through it you may well get that relaxation, but if you’ve been told meditation will be a spa experience you may well give up because apparently you can’t even breathe right.

Just to pick an example.

Being told that strong negative emotions weren’t a sign of failure was really game changing for me.  One, it let me do mindfulness work and get mindfulness benefits out of it, even if they weren’t relaxation.  Two, it enabled me to see why mindfulness wasn’t relaxing for me and look for something that was, which I eventually found.  I’ll talk about that tomorrow, but in case there’s anyone like me that really wants what meditation promises and hasn’t gotten it, I wanted to spread the word.