How Meditation Became Medicine
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and Hindu missionaries, many of these women believed that by transforming consciousness, they could also transform oppressive conditions in which they lived. For women - and many African-American men - "Mind Cure" meant not just happiness, but liberation in concrete political, economic, and legal
In response to the perceived threat posed by this movement, white male doctors and clergy with elite academic credentials began to channel key Mind Cure methods into "scientific" psychology and medicine. As mental therapeutics became medicalized and commodified, the religious roots of meditation, like the social-justice agendas of early Mind Curers, fell by the wayside. Although characterized as "universal," mindfulness has very specific historical and cultural roots, and is now largely
marketed by and accessible to affluent white people. Hickey examines religious dimensions of the Mindfulness movement and clinical research about its effectiveness. By treating stress-related illness individualistically, she argues, the contemporary movement obscures the roles religious communities can play
in fostering civil society and personal wellbeing, and diverts attention from systemic factors fueling stress-related illness, including racism, sexism, and poverty.