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The Mindfulness Paradox

December 17, 2012

Yesterday’s NYTimes op ed section featured an essay on mindfulness called The Power of Concentration by  Maria Konnokova, a Columbia doctoral student. The messages in Ms. Konnokova’s essay are:

  • concentration is an essential skill in today’s world where multi-tasking constantly divides our attention,
  • research shows that engaging in mindfulness practice increases one’s ability to concentrate
  • research shows that when one engages in mindfulness practice their brain is permanently altered… no matter what their age is.
  • mindfulness can be taught

So… if mindfulness can be taught… and it results in permanent and irreversible changes to one’s ability to concentrate… why are we not including it in the school curriculum?

Two reasons: we don’t have tests we can use to rank teachers an schools based on the ability of students to concentrate… and meditation and yoga— technique used to teach mindfulness— is religious training!

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