The title of this post is a line that I’ve had floating around in my head for a couple of weeks. It feels like it wants to be the punchline to a poem, but that sounds like too much hard work at the moment.
What does the line mean? It’s my response to the whole ‘mindfulness’ craze. Mindfulness is about trying to enjoy and focus on the present moment, and acknowledging your current emotions while not letting them control you. I’m not actually opposed to that. I think that being ‘mindful’ is a good thing, as attempts to live deliberately often are. Actually, between you and me, I think that it’s actually a spiritual discipline, with a fine tradition in Christian spirituality, and that’s where my problem lies.
It’s like people have finally realised that there’s something deeply wrong with the country’s soul, and have correctly identified that a big part of the problem is the poverty of the average Westerner’s inner life. Man shall not live on bread alone, and all that. But the problem is that we can’t acknowledge that religion might have something to contribute to this discussion, so we try mindfulness. It works for our society because you don’t have to believe in anything to be mindful. You can even offer it in schools without offending anyone – and that’s the most important thing about education, after all.
So now, the solution to the stress and alienation of twenty-first century living is to go down to The Works and buy yourself a mindful colouring-in book. That’ll fix it. As Roy Walker, of Catchphrase, used to say – “It’s good, but it’s not right!”
I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are very wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”