Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Faster can also be better

It is understandable why people respect age.  The more we learn about the universe, the easier it is to see our lives as brief, to see time as both an important measure and our mortal enemy.  Steady practice, tenacity, dedicated application and such words all give a picture of dedication and commitment, continued work and attention over time

Just the other day, I first met the word "McMindfulness", a take-off on the term "McMansion".  You may know that a McMansion is an overly large, overly expensive house, typically with a mortgage that is too large for the inhabitants to comfortably pay. I thought the Wikipedia synonyms for a McMansion were interesting:

The neologism "McMansion" seems to have been coined sometime in the early 1980s.[2] It appeared in the Los Angeles Times in 1990[3][4] and the New York Times in 1998.[5] Related terms include "Persian palace",[6] "garage Mahal", "starter castle", and "Hummer house."[7] Marketing parlance often uses the term tract "mansions" or executive homes. An example of a McWord, "McMansion" associates the generic quality of these luxury homes with that of mass-produced fast food by evoking the McDonald's restaurant chain.[8]

As the rather stilted language says, McDonald's fast food, "McMansions" and "McMindfulness" are perjoratives implying something of low quality and cheap fast construction.  Those who have trained long and hard as meditators, especially those of the Soto school of Japanese Zen can take it as a given that anything American and easier in any way has to be inferior, flimsy and low quality.

From the little bit of knowledge of Zen schools I have gotten from my favorite Kindle comic book ["graphic novel"], the Soto school emphasizes years of training in a crosslegged or kneeling position, working with the mind to quiet it.  The Rinzai school feels that sudden and immediate insight into the reality of life is possible.  However, in what seems to me a typical example of a male need for excitement and some sort of rigor, the Rinzai may try to jolt a practitioner into facing life as it is through the use of a blow to the body, the shoulder or a twist of the nose.

When you couple very natural suspicion of something shorter and easier with the emerging Western research that awareness of one's own mind can assist with facing nearly any use of the mind, better cooperation between one's thoughts and one's emotions and healthier, happier living, the term McMindfulness can also assist those wary of short-order fast but inferior versions of anything. Whatever this meditation and mindfulness stuff is, it has to be a come-on, a sham.  

It isn't. It is inexpensive and easy but you have to work 5-10 minutes a day at it. Try it yourself.  Get used to it and see if it is very valuable.  You can be male or female, Nordic or Asian.  It may help if you are over 40 years old.

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