Do we really need more guides to mindfulness?


This post is by Oliver Burkeman from Books | The Guardian


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From Ruby Wax to poetry anthologies, 2016 brings a glut of mindfulness titles. But does the art of living in the here and now require so many special guides? I have a personal theory that almost everyone secretly meditates, whether they realise it or not – even the kind of people who’d make extravagant “I’m being sick” gestures were you to suggest they attend a Buddhist retreat. Scratch the surface and you’ll find that almost everyone pursues some activity demanding absolute presence of mind: if not mountain climbing or sailing or bike racing (where a lapse of attention might mean death), then photography or singing or recreational cookery (where a lapse of attention means you’ll screw things up). Train spotting and caring for a newborn arguably occupy different ends of the scale of worthwhile pursuits – but they’re both incompatible with getting totally lost in thoughts of the past or ...