Mindfulness is NOT Brain-fullness and other Psychosocial Myths

The exchange of the word ‘mind’ for ‘brain’ perpetuates a host of myths that are dangerous and harmful (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5353526/) for psychosocial health.

The human Mind is NOT the brain but should be understood to mean ‘whole person’. This is why defining personhood is critical for an ethic of risk.

In SPoR, we use the lower case word mind to infer brain and the upper-case Mind to mean person.

When we speak of ‘mindfulness’ with respect to mental health it should always be holistic, focused on the whole embodied person and Socialitie (social being).

The idea that mental health is about brain-health is founded on the erroneous idea of brain-centrism. The brain is nothing like a computer and such a metaphor ought to be eradicated from any conversation about mindfulness and psychosocial health.

The brain cannot be reprogramed or trained to create resilience.

Mindfulness should always be understood as being about the whole human person in Socialitie.

The language of mindfulness’ has become such a trendy expression but few know what it means (https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/what-is-mindfulness-nobody-really-knows-and-that-s-a-problem). Even when some speak of meditation, they conjure up some idea of brain-programming. Again, meditation or somatic therapy must all be held in the context of Holism. This is why in SPoR we only speak of ‘embodiment’ and ‘Holistic Ergonomics’ (https://cllr.com.au/product/holistic-ergonomics-unit-6/ ).

There can be no healing or helping in brain-centric individualist-behaviourist methodology. This is why most of the nonsense safety standards on ‘psychosocial hazards’ is doomed to fail (https://safetyrisk.net/category/mental-health/psychosocial-safety/ ). Indeed, without a holistic understanding of fallible human personhood, such approaches to persons will be more harmful and dangerous. More so from an industry with no ethic, capability or curriculum in psychosocial health.

There is a very good piece here on what Mindfulness is NOT (https://theconversation.com/we-dont-yet-fully-understand-what-mindfulness-is-but-this-is-what-its-not-110698).

The history of Mindfulness goes back 4000 years and is associated with Eastern Philosophies connected to spiritual, religious, ritual and mythical thinking and practice. The earliest records of Mindfulness come from the Hindus Valley but the Indigenous Australian ‘Dreamtime’ shares much in common with similar understandings of holistic embodied well-being.

One thing is for certain – brain-centric, individualist and behaviourist philosophy has no comprehension of either Mindfulness or mental health.

The risk and safety industry rejects any discussion on metaphysics, belief, faith or fallible personhood. This is despite the fact that an understanding of these and more is essential to tackling risk.

We also see in populist works on ‘mindful leadership’ (eg. Gonzalez – ‘train your brain’; Marturano – ‘self-awareness’; Atlassian – ‘work-life balance as self-mastery’; https://themindfulleader.com/ – ‘awakened brain’), so much of what is selling like hot cakes, is NOT Mindfulness. Most of it is about self-awareness (whatever that means) and individualist, behaviourist brain-centric measurable outcomes (https://www.mindfulleader.org/blog/71769-essential-books-on-mindful-leadership ).

The beginning of Mindfulness is NOT the self.

The beginning of Mindfulness is discovered in Socialitie.


There can be no resilience if it is not connected to relationships, communitie and Socialitie.

If you wish to do some solid research on Mindfulness that is founded on a holistic and embodied understanding of well-being then you can read any book in the list here: https://safetyrisk.net/the-nonsense-of-safety-awareness/


Register for the Holistic Ergonomics program (https://cllr.com.au/product/holistic-ergonomics-unit-6/).

Or contact admin@spor.com.au to arrange a Vimeo program or face-to-face with a SPoR Representative near you.


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