Daoism

Daoist mindfulness

In his book, Convergence with Nature: A Daoist Perspective, David. E. Cooper makes a connection between Daoist practices of attention and Buddhist mindfulness. He describes mindfulness as a ‘delicate combination of alertness, calm attention and flexible responsiveness’ that also involves disinterestedness and impartiality – a non-egocentric observation of experiencing. He calls this non-egocentric viewpoint, un-selfing: ‘ un-selfing is more than the setting aside of selfish interests: it requires, too, the suspension of sentiments and concerns which, even when benign, cloud the mirror of mindful awareness’. Note the similarity with the sceptical practice of suspending judgment and belief (epoché). According to Cooper the Daoist view of mindfulness is as a ‘stilled state of someone receptive to experience, who waits for the presence of beings and intuitively responds to them. It is the unscurrying state of a person’ [whose experience isn’t clouded or distorted] ‘by preoccupations with self, nor with labelling and analysing.’ Nor, we might add, with imposing meanings, judgments or commentaries; nor with the projection of personal ideas, concepts and concerns upon the stream of observed experience.