The current mindfulness craze—if we take it seriously enough—may just change who we think we are and what we’re trying to do in therapy. It can lead us, and our clients, away from our comfortable constructs and toward a radical reappraisal of who we are and what our life is all about, upending our psychotherapy practices in the process.
We can discover through sustained mindfulness practice that our sense of being a separate, coherent, enduring self is actually a delusion maintained by our constant inner chatter—chatter that generally features “me” at its center. From mundane decisions (“I think I should get the salmon with wilted spinach tonight—I’ve been eating too much junk lately”) to existential fears (“What will I do if the lump is malignant?”), this chatter fills our waking hours. Listening to this inner narrative all day long we come to believe that the hero of this drama must of course exist. After all, I’ve been thinking about “me” and my desires for as long as I can remember. So when emotions arise in my awareness, I naturally assume that they’re mine.