Recontextualizing “Mindfulness”: Considering the Phenomenological Enactment of Clinical, Spiritual, and Religious Realities

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Abstract

Mindfulness within Western psychology and American culture is typically defined and practiced according to metaphysical assumptions associated with secular humanism. However, historically, the practice of mindfulness and meditation has been situated within worldviews of spiritual and religious traditions that assume different metaphysical assumptions about what is “reality,” influencing what forms of experiences are labeled as “mindfulness” and the context of its use. This article explores some of the differing influences on the phenomenological experiences of mindfulness within the context of varied worldviews and gives suggestions on how to work ethically with the corresponding religious and spiritual diversity in clinical practice.

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