Tuesday, June 27, 2023


In Mindfulness for Beginners, one of the terms that stands out is selfing, defined by author Jon Kabat-Zinn as "the tendency to put ourselves at the absolute center of the universe" (p. 40). This reminds me of Charles Derber’s The Pursuit of Attention. Throughout the book, Derber talks about the cultural tendency to be self-oriented. I wrote about Derber's book at Everyday Sociology Blog a few years ago: "Tired and anxious, we become preoccupied with our own problems. Our capitalist system and individualistic culture cultivates a survivalist mentality." 

Back to Mindfulness for Beginners...Kabat-Zinn suggests we catch ourselves when we are self-oriented and self-preoccupied, and notes "...we don't have to automatically and with no awareness fall into the habits of self-identification, self-centeredness, and selfing. What is more, if we are open to looking at ourselves afresh, we can readily see that these thought-habits actually distort reality, create illusions and delusions, and ultimately imprison us" (p. 42). 

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