• Anne Pemberton

Rejecting Reality? Can Mindfulness Help?

Updated: Jan 18

Dear Interwebs,

I am at a loss watching the coverage of the mob that stormed the Capital today.

Pew Research Center has a lot of useful information about journalism and the media here: Media literacy is certainly a part of metaliteracy.

Adrian Bardon, author of "The Truth About Denial," recently explained in a NiemanLab article that "when scientific advice threatens someone’s perceived interests or worldview, that person's 'political, religious or ethnic identity quite effectively predicts one’s willingness to accept expertise on any given politicized issue.'”

Also from the article: "Americans increasingly exist in highly polarized, informationally insulated ideological communities occupying their own information universes."

Discover Magazine recently published an article titled, "Why We’re Prone to Denial."

Denial. Alternative realities. What do we do? In addition to metaliteracy, can mindfulness help?

There are many misperceptions about mindfulness. One misperception is that practicing mindfulness helps you escape reality. But as Robert Wright points out, "Being mindful isn’t a way of insulating yourself from reality. It’s a way of engaging reality in a more discerning and hence potentially more effective way." His "NonZero" website ( provides a plethora of resources including an interview with Joseph Goldstein in which he describes mindfulness as being present in the moment while observing the "filter" through which you are experiencing the present moment.

Mindfulness will continue to be misunderstood (if I had a dollar for every time I mention mindfulness and a very well educated person starts talking about "being chill" I could retire) and commercialized (see "McMindfulness"). There is no clear path to change that. But there are people who believe mindfulness could change the world (like me!) including Jon Kabat-Zinn and are doing everything they can to share what they know. And there are likely better ways to teach mindfulness to children (Mindful Literacy) than others (Breathe with me Barbie). I do not have the answers but I want to find them. Every day. But today more than ever.



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