There are many people who are dedicated to mindfulness as a way of practicing Buddhism. I would like to relate my own take on this practice.
To focus on what we’re doing in the here and now is one of the core pointers in Buddhism. So, when I’m busy brushing my teeth (for example) I’m aware of the taste of the toothpaste, the feel of the brush, my hands gripping the brush, etc.
I’m very wary of criticizing a core Buddhist practice which dates back to a time even before the Buddha, but here is my issue with it. When “I” focus on what “I’m” doing then what am I really doing? I’m sustaining a belief in a me – in other words, I’m sustaining the core belief that blocks awakening. I am encouraging the fantasy that there is a separate me doing things in a separative world. I could be the model Buddhist practitioner, but I will never experience awakening. All the “effort” wasted. What a shame.
So what is a “person” to do? Everything happens in the spotless space of awareness, even that pesky “I” thought. So when brushing one’s teeth one could, instead, open their awareness to the play of “I” as one is brushing their teeth.
Here’s what “I” mean. Teeth are being brushed. Then there is the thought “I should be focusing on ”my“ teeth brushing – and then another thought pops up, like – ”I wish I didn’t have to be wasting time brushing my teeth, I need to get ready for work.” We can see that the “I” thoughts are all over the place. Why not get a sense of what sense of “I” is pulling us away from the experience of the tooth brushing, instead of nailing the unwilling “I” to the tooth brushing? When we are free of that, which we will be if we’re allowing the “me” thought full range of motion to move within consciousness, then the pure experience of tooth brushing will be allowed to just be exactly as it is. Hooray.
When we rein in the “I” thought, we are, essentially, just being a different kind of separate “me”. This is, it seems to me, not a path to freedom. Instead, its just another needy “me” dutifully following directions. That’s the core of the invalidated problem in a nutshell.