Celebrities swear by it, scientists study it, monks still practice it and business leaders use it to thwart burnout. Mindfulness, the art of living in the now, has grown hugely in recent years. Its advocates claim it is good for health, reduces stress and improves quality of life. While critics are skeptical that a 4 billion dollar industry has our interests truly at heart and challenge the idea that happiness is achievable by all.
Is being in the present a vital antidote to a distracted and divisive culture, offering a solution to the misery of humankind? Or has meditation and mindfulness always been a means to hide from the reality of life, peddling fantasy and acquiesence when change and intervention are what is really needed?
Author of McMindfulness Ron Purser and writer and actor Sally Phillips assess the credibility of mindfulness.