Monday, June 28, 2021

When the 'wellness' industry doesn't get it


I saw this in the supermarket aisle example of how the wellness industry doesn't always align with the dharma.

Wellbeing? Yes.
Mindfulness? Yes.
Creativity? Yes.
Escaping? Nup. Well... not when it comes to our response to difficulty anyway.

The dharma is about confrontation with the reality of life, not consolation - escaping or transcending it. The latter is the business of religion. The Buddha was on about how to flourish in THIS life, here now.

Of course, sometimes in the moment, if we're in the grip of a strong reaction, or if we're in a toxic situation, removing ourselves can be skillful. So a temporary escape can be part of good practice, while we self-soothe or muster our resilience and energy.

Or 'escaping' from the everyday occasionally for some quiet time, a retreat perhaps, some joy, fun or regeneration. But these things are very transient (anyone remember the post-holiday blues?) Even meditation retreats 'wear off' soon enough.

Other than some temporary regeneration, escaping doesn't have much to offer wellbeing in any kind of structural way. Instead, we can learn to meet everything that comes with curiousity and courage.

The dharma offers us the challenge of dismantling our reactive habits which is a hugely powerful tactic to increase our wellbeing. But we need to reverse our habit of escaping unpleasant experiences in order to do that so that we can get to know them and disempower them.

What role does 'escape' play in your life?

(Click here for my just-launched book - The Buddha for Modern Minds: A non-religious guide to the Buddha and his teachings. )

No comments:

Post a Comment