We are continually being told that ‘mindfulness’ is a good thing, a goal to be aspired to, the epitome, the acme of all that is good and righteous. To be ‘mindful’, practitioners inform us, is the path to enlightenment, nirvana, and paying off the mortgage on time. Now it seems that this key precept is failing, with many practitioners straying from the path and in the process becoming narcissistic, vile little eejits you wouldn’t cross the road to piss down their throats if their lungs were on fire. But they weren’t nice people to begin with, and no amount of ‘awareness’ and Yogurt can change their true nature, merely the way it is expressed, in saccharine insincerity, passive-aggressiveness and massive self-delusion.
Now it may surprise you, dear reader (Look, there’s one of you out there, I think) but I too once delved into the innermost secrets of the universal soul through meditation and Yoga. Through my contemplations of the infinite and divine, I have become the person I am today. Does this surprise anyone? Yes? No? Don’t give a monkeys? Whatever.
Now my yoghurt and mendicant training goes back a few years to the Dojo where I studied, a small covert room over a Chinese Restaurant in sunny Stoke on Trent. A secret place where ancient masters taught the stoic arts and the ancient, obscure Welsh martial art of LLap Mivitalls, which consists of disciplining mind and body to hardship via the use of large cups of tea and bacon sandwiches consumed in the vast hidden reaches of industrial estates and lorry parks. The major part of which consists of learning how to eat your bacon sandwich in a torrential downpour without diluting your tea or letting your bacon sandwich get soggy. You can brag about the athletic prowess of Shaolin monks all you like, but such things are child’s play when faced with the inner serenity a black belt in this Welsh martial art can attain. Let’s face it, when you can calmly munch your way through breakfast in a heavy Welsh downpour whilst looking totally relaxed, you are indeed a force to be reckoned with.
BC, my home for the last decade or so, is now infested with a plague of ‘mindfulness’ and narcissism to the point where recovery is not possible. There can be no vaccine for this plague, only the burgeoning awareness of the sufferer that all is not well with them, and why their friends seem to clam up or roll their eyes whenever the practitioner of mindfulness opens their mouth.
At my Dojo, we were warned about this outcome by the Dojo’s chief mentor, Lobsang Dai, a Cardiff born man and part time Tom Jones impersonator (Ask your Granny). “Now young disciple, look you.” He would say. “All this talk of inner focus is all very well, but will it keep the rain from getting inn your tea?” He would opine further. “The path to inner serenity lies not in the actions of others, but of looking to yourself and not letting the water in. And putting your right leg behind your left ear isn’t that impressive.” With such sage teaching has my path to inner enlightenment been scattered. If we studied hard that lesson, he would demonstrate his hip twist, and how it could instantly bring down ladies underwear. Never understood why he wore such apparel, but to each their own. We were a very progressive class.
Sadly Lobsang Dai is no more, having fallen from grace to the charms of a Hungarian long distance lorry driver called Magda, but my fellow disciples and I remember his teachings with great fondness.