Benefits and Limitations of Mindfulness

By George A. Boyd © 2018

Q: It seems everyone is promoting mindfulness. Is this a valuable technique for me to learn?

A: Mindfulness is a kind of Swiss army knife for beginning meditators. For example:

  1. It is a tool for presence. It teaches you how to collect your attention in the waking state of awareness.
  2. It provides a way for you to process the material that arises in the present time, and to fully experience it.
  3. It enables you to perceive the content of the unconscious mind, which promotes insight.
  4. It allows you to release tension. It promotes relaxation. It can temporarily relieve pain.
  5. It lets you make a breakthrough the blockage at one level of the mind and lift up into an altered state of consciousness. An instance of this is, if you do present-time contemplation of the deep sensations in your physical body, when you complete processing your experience at that level, your attention will be drawn up into union with the Voidness of Being beyond the Self.
  6. It helps you work out painful and shameful emotions through fully witnessing them and experiencing them.
  7. Mindful focusing on the breath can lift your attention up to enlightened states of mind, into the wave of the present time on the Akashic Aether, and the presence of the Soul.

While mindfulness is a useful and versatile technique, there are many meditation tasks that it cannot accomplish. For instance:

  1. It cannot transform the Soul to a new nodal point.
  2. It cannot open the Path of the spirit.
  3. In most cases, it does not awaken the energy of awareness that opens the potentials of all levels of the mind.
  4. It does not specifically direct attention to focus on discrete focal points of the mind or on the immortal essences of consciousness, but instead contemplates present-time experience.
  5. It does not specifically tap intuition for guidance.
  6. It does not activate the powers of the Soul or activate its ability to send the Light of Attunement. It does not promote reception of the Omnific energies of Light Immersion.
  7. It does not establish a spiritual connection with a spiritual Master or guide in the inner Planes of the Superconscious mind.
  8. It does not normally uncover your core sense of truth, or Dharma, which guides you to right activity in your daily life.
  9. It does normally not lead your attention to experience the Self, the Soul, or God. This has led those who practice this meditation to deny that there is a Self, or a Soul, or that God exists.
  10. It does not set any objective or goal for meditation other than experiencing what is arising in the present time. As a result, meditations can simply be sessions of monitoring the stream of consciousness and remaining in a state of reverie—it produces no concrete change, nor does it lead to the accomplishment of any spiritual development objective.
  11. For many beginning meditators, it may restrict their experience of the levels of awareness to the bands of the Conscious mind. It does not give them a tool to move to discrete levels of the mind beyond this level and to explore the content there.
  12. Those that practice mindfulness in every interaction may be actually functioning in a light state of trance. While this is less stressful than operating automatically and reactively—plus it generates an enhanced quality of life—it may paradoxically restrict attention to narrow parameters, instead of taking in the full picture of what is happening around them.
  13. We encourage aspirants to learn these different beneficial uses of mindfulness described here, and to utilize this helpful method to enable them to relax and gain insight. But we point out that mindfulness is a beginners’ practice of meditation, and it would be valuable for them to acquire additional techniques to accomplish some of the other spiritual objectives that mindfulness practice does not address.

    We teach these additional methods in our intermediate classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. We invite aspirants to build upon the auspicious foundation of mindfulness and to acquire the additional methods that will enable them to fully activate their personal and spiritual potentials, and to make conscious spiritual progress towards Mastery and Liberation.