Updated: May 18
Today, Commander Mark Divine speaks with Dr. Fleet Maull about his early days as a spiritual seeker who lived a compartmentalized life—which included meditation and mindfulness, but also substance abuse and drug trafficking. This led him to eventually serving a 14 ½ year prison sentence. Dr. Maull discusses how prison was the wake-up call he needed to realize he was focusing only on mindfulness with no ethical foundations. He shares how this realization, along with following a monastic practice transformed him into the compassionate teacher and mentor that he is today.
Insufficient instruction makes mindfulness much more of a struggle. It’s important to seek out a qualified instructor.
There are many paths, traditions, and teachers to choose from. We are all different and require different approaches. When choosing what feels right, look closely at the actions of the teacher and their students. It’s important not to expect perfection from teachers or students, but look for something genuine happening. It will feel right if it is right.
Mindfulness without an ethical or moral component is not transformative. It need not be religious. There are secular practices that are rooted in compassion.
Define your ethical and moral framework, and commit to it. Each morning recommit, and set your intentions for the day. Each evening identify and acknowledge any mistakes made, and the next day you start again with a fresh start.
The blame and shame approach to social justice is causing harm. The real work should always come from a place of love. When we lead with love, we show others a better way.
Taking ownership of our actions is not about guilt or shame. Guilt and shame are detrimental, but accountability helps us grow, so we can move past our mistakes, make our lives better, and add value to the world.