Saturday 1 June 2013

#333 Paradoxes & Head-scratchers during Mindfulness - Cognitive Dissonance

     "cognitive dissonance is the discomfort experienced when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel 'disequilibrium': frustration, hunger, dread, guilt, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, etc. 
     ... people have a bias to seek consonance between their expectations and reality. ... people engage in ... 'dissonance reduction' ... achieved in one of 3 ways: lowering the importance of one of the discordant factors, adding consonant elements, or changing one of the dissonant factors. This bias sheds light on otherwise puzzling, irrational, and even destructive behavior."

     As we become increasingly mindful ie more & more aware of what's actually happening all around us and within, we realize that we've been doing an awful lot of 'dissonance reduction' in order to distort reality to fit our naive ideas of safety, comfort, convenience, happiness etc.
     The puzzling statements about mindfulness that we initially discounted - "no, they can't mean that" - we increasingly realize accurately depict reality, but at the time, we literally could not - were not ready - to see it. Learning is iterative & experiential.
     As our practice matures, we become increasingly "more real". Reality is far less harsh than we feared, and the quality of our lives becomes better than we had hoped for.

     See also:

Dale Chihuly

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