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Modes of Mindfulness: Prophetic Critique and Integral Emergence

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As mindfulness becomes more secular and popular, there are more arguments about its purpose and use value. Because of its disparate uses, many proponents of any one side often talk past each other and miss their mark. This paper employs an integral meta-theory that accounts for subjective, inter-subjective, objective, inter-objective, and developmental perspectives on mindfulness. This helps categorize modes of mindfulness in order to clarify their purposes and functions within a society characterized by neoliberal principles and structures. It adopts the standpoint of a prophetic critique similar to those critiques of McMindfulness and insists on the inseparability of both universal self-development and social justice. The approach expands on a taxonomy developed by the socially engaged Buddhist scholar, Bhikkhu Bodhi. The modes of mindfulness are classical, secular therapeutic, secular developmental, secular instrumental, secular interpersonal, and socially transformative mindfulness. It proposes that a prophetic integral mindfulness employs all modes of mindfulness in order to do justice to as many perspectives as possible and thereby contribute to human evolution.

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Correspondence to David Forbes.

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Forbes, D. Modes of Mindfulness: Prophetic Critique and Integral Emergence. Mindfulness 7, 1256–1270 (2016).

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