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A talk in defense of Mindlessness

Like Robert Thurman said in the talk, when we became aware of the joy of the moment we begin to enjoy less the moment itself. In the last years, so much words were about Mindfulness, sometimes considered like a panacea, but I'd like to listen some good word about Mindlessness. I think too much mindfulness can weigh our minds not giving us the ability to letting go things. I'm not promoting the idea that one is better than another, but that each is useful in the right moment.

  • Feb 19 2014: Ever hear of "paralysis by analysis"? A little fairy tale goes thus:

    A cricket once said to a centipede, "How do you ever do that?"
    "Do what?" the centipede replied.
    "How do you walk with 100 legs? I can barely keep six of them going the way I want to."
    The centipede sat down. "I never thought about that. I wonder how I do that."
    And the centipede was never able to take another step.

    This is, of course, a fable, but it does illustrate the usefulness of mindlessness. Mindlessness is a fundamentally necessary state of life--imagine how difficult it would be to walk if you had to think about moving every muscle in the process every single time. The real problem is not insufficient mindfulness. The real problem is not knowing how and when to switch from mindlessness to mindfulness and back.
    • Feb 19 2014: This makes me think of "muscle memory" and training until actions become reflexes. Mindlessness can be learned and is necessary sometimes.
  • Feb 8 2014: I can see the benefits of "shutting down" and having a good laugh now and then. It seems unhealthy to weigh ourselves down nonstop 24 hours a day. Meditation is a powerful tool as well. For me it is a practice in "not following" the thoughts that pop in my head. When I follow some of these thoughts it leads to anger or anxiety. I think egolessness is a healthy excercise too.
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    Feb 15 2014: Mindfulness and Mindlessness, Yin and Yang. Is that what you mean Eduardo? Please expand or explain Mindlessness a little bit more.
    • Feb 15 2014: Yeah Rodrigo it's what I mean.
      Mindlessness it's a state similar to what you obtain in passive meditation, for me.
      If I see an interesting and funny movie for example I became "mindless".
      If you meditate, and let go the thought you can feel like a stream and you don't focus on some thought, for me also this is mindlessness. But if for example I try to enter in a meditation state using the feeling of my body, I became mindful of my body and then mindless-mindful because we enter in a state near the sleep. Every method it's useful, but sometimes we need a laugh because meditating it's more difficult. When we laugh everything flow, in that moment we are mindless-mindful. Aware of the joy of laughing, mindless of the burden we have on us.
      I'm understanding these things just in these days. We already use the two alternatives, I guess it's natural. Sometimes we focus, sometimes we relax (making it simple).
    • Feb 15 2014: Another thing.
      What impressed me, in Robert Thurman talk is that when we became aware of the joy of the moment we begin to enjoy less the moment itself. This make me think that not always mindfulness it's a good thing, that sometimes, we need mindlessness to enjoy life. This explained to me because sometimes I don't feel comfortable to be aware.
      By the way there are several benefits to being mindfull, I'm not denying it, I hope this is clear! :)
      I also think we can feel spontaneously when one of the two is needed. :)

      Thank you all very much for your participation in this topic! :)
  • Jan 25 2014: Well, I'm capable of mindlessness, for example when I see my favourite TV-series. Many gurus, spiritual masters, psychologist say that we need more mindfulness. For example, in my case mindfulness can help for my ocd, or the awareness of my phisycal sensation are a wonderful method of relaxation and meditation. But sometimes, we need mindlessness in the form of a long bath, or a hot shower, or a movie, or a drink with friends without trying to be aware. I guess this way of acting could be stressful for some people like me, so relax and enjoy it (and this is for me mindlessness). I think everybody is capable of mindlessness, and maybe mindlessness and mindfullness, often are the same. I don't think we have to eliminate thoughts from our minds, I agree is innatural, but neither I think that mindlessness means this. I have difficulty to express these type of thoughts in english, I hope that something passed, sorry for my english. Thank you for the attention! :)
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    Jan 22 2014: I really don't think I'm capable of mindlessness. Even when I turn off the words in my mind, which is rarely and feels unnatural, there's still a continuing awareness of how I feel emotionally and physically. Do you really think you're capable of mindlessness, Eduardo? I'm always very aware of my physical blood in my body, it seems like the blood always wants to be aware.
  • Jan 21 2014: P.S.
    I think mindlessness could be a tool to live more the present, and to live more spontaneously.
    We need both (mindfulness and mindlessness) IMHO :)
  • Jan 21 2014: I'm happy my idea was published, thank you Ted's Staff! :)

    So people, what do you think about this idea?
    I say this also for my experience with OCD (in which sometimes the Mindfullness can be a problem, and other times useful) and with all these practices that use mindfulness. Sometimes Mindlessness can be useful too, giving us the permission to letting go and relax! :)