Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters

Mind over Matter

Someone recently, said she was going to use mind over matter to deal with some discomfort that she was anticipating to arise during meditation. Insetad, I suggested she engage “mind with matter.”

Mind over matter suggests a clear separation between mind and matter. I really don’t think this separation exists. All “mind” is influenced by matter and the experience of matter is influenced by mind. Mind over matter also suggests effort, strain, perhaps even struggle. “By force of will, I will overcome this unpleasantness.”


It can certainly work. We can use aspects of mind to get through just about any experience. Mindfulness offers a way to engage mind with matter where we don’t mind matter and mind doesn’t matter.

We are always dealing with matter–the experience of our senses, the stuff that we have, and the laws of physics–the material world. Of course, each experiences is filtered through mind, so these are really not separate. More to the point, we have strong opinions about our material experiences–matter matters to us. We like and dislike. These preferences create tension. We try to exclude the things we don’t like and include the things that we like. Since we can’t control everything that happens to us, the pressure to include-exclude makes us vulnerable to anxiety, disappointment, and stress.


Mindfulness helps us to be peaceful in any moment–even a difficult moment. Mindful attention helps us to get to the point where matter doesn’t matter so much–we don’t mind matter.

We are always dealing with mind–thoughts, images, memories, and emotions. Like material, we have strong opinions about what our minds produce. We like and dislike, push and pull, and create the same tensions that can arise with our stuff. Here too, mindfulness can help us to be with whatever is arising without getting stressed out. We don’t have to judge mind. Mind doesn’t have to matter so much. We can just be in all our imperfections.

This discussion of mind and matter reminds me of a conversation between Bart and Homer Simpson.

Bart Simpson: “What is the mind? Is it just a system of impulses or is it something tangible?”

Home Simpson: “Relax. What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind!”


  • Ellie

    Thanks for this post, Dr. K. I’m a believer in mindfulness even if I find meditation challenging. I recall you once said that all the matter in the universe could theoretically be squished into an orb the size of a bowling ball. The rest is empty space, or, as Einstein espouses, energy. Both mind and body, therefore, must be energy. Say, for example, you have a tooth pulled and the blood and stitches tell your mind that you should experience pain. So you have pain. Aren’t physical sensations, then, really just a “matter” of mind?

Previous Posts

S is for Sangha
Mindfulness A to Z official release is here! Here is an excerpt from "S is for Sangha" The sangha is the community of people who follow the teachings of the Buddha, or more generically, anyone who engages in mindfulness meditation. When ...

posted 10:31:30am Sep. 22, 2015 | read full post »

E is for Effort
Mindfulness A to Z official release is tomorrow! Here is an excerpt from "E is for Effort" We may need to encourage ourselves gently in the direction of practice. Challenges arise. Daily life is complicated and busy; it may seem like we ...

posted 3:25:12pm Sep. 21, 2015 | read full post »

S is for Self
Mindfulness A to Z official release is tomorrow! Here is an excerpt from "S is for Self" Who are you? Emily Dickinson would reply: I’m nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody, too? Most of us would naturally reply, “I am me.” More ...

posted 10:28:58am Sep. 21, 2015 | read full post »

N is for Nature
Mindfulness A to Z official release is 2 days away! Here is an excerpt from "N is for Nature" Practicing outside helps to break down the artificial separation we sometimes impose between “practice” and the rest of the world. Rather than ...

posted 10:23:22am Sep. 20, 2015 | read full post »

L is for Loving-kindness
Mindfulness A to Z official release is 3 days away! Here is an excerpt from "L is for Loving-kindness" Buddhism retains a very strong tradition of deliberately opening our hearts to others. This practice is called “loving-kindness” or ...

posted 10:23:00am Sep. 19, 2015 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.