Mindfulness meditation can make some more selfish and less generous

By Michael J Poulin

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*When Japanese chef Yoshihiro Murata travels, he brings water with him from Japan. He says this is the only way to make truly authentic dashi, the flavorful broth essential to Japanese cuisine. There’s science to back him up: water in Japan is notably softer – which means it has fewer dissolved minerals – *than in many other parts of the world. 

No, there is not science to back up the ridiculous statement that “Japanese” water is necessary for making “truly authentic dashi.” If the water were softer than anywhere else in the world, there would be science to back up such an asinine claim.

Will Japanese people ever learn and accept that they and their country aren’t special?

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Specifically, Americans tend to think of themselves most often in independent terms with “I” as their focus: “what I want,” “who I am.” By contrast, people in Asian cultures more often think of themselves in interdependent terms with “we” as their focus: “what we want,” “who we are.”

I have lived in Asia for over two decades, and in my experience this is completely untrue. In fact, if you compare something like the levels of charitable giving in my home country of the UK and in Japan, you'll find that it is Japanese public who are the most self-centred and unwilling to help others.

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I am pretty sure that when a Japanese says "we", they are specifically excluding me.

I can see how some persons would become less giving because some persons let themselves get taken advantage of due to low self-esteem and when they become more mindful they may realize that focus on themselves.

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"Take the word “namaste.” In modern Hindi, it’s simply a respectful greeting, the equivalent of a formal “hello” appropriate for addressing one’s elders. But in the U.S., its associations with yoga have led many people to believe that it’s an inherently spiritual word."

While I appreciate the fact that many Americans take an interest in foreign cultures and are very knowledgeable about certain cultural connotations, it is quite different from the understanding that actually being brought up in other cultures provides.

Namaste is a common Hindi greeting which can be used to greet anyone, however it is derived from Sanskrit where the word has spiritual origin and it literally means 'I bow to the divinity in you'.

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American's focus on the "I/Me", and its resulting selfishness has never been more noticeable, and troublesome, as since the pandemic, manifesting as resistance to masks because it's "an infringement on my rights, or is uncomfortable", and now as objections to the vaccine because "the government can't tell me what to do", or "I'm not putting THAT in my body".  It's all about ME.

The Japanese vaccine reluctance, for the same reasons as some Americans, about putting foreign objects into their body is a hypocritical individual act in a country with the societal norm of being a "We" culture. They too are only thinking about "Me" when it comes to the vaccine.

The pandemic is not primarily about the individual:  it's a "We/Us" problem if there ever was one. A global "We/Us". Getting a vaccine is not about "me"... it's essentially about saving the planet and the global population.  

I would expect this attitude from the selfish Americans, but I'm surprised to see it in Japan. I guess we're more alike in some ways than we think.

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