Even when we are in touch with our intentions and they are good, our compassionate actions can be unskillful. Mindfulness, discernment, balance and equanimity in the face of suffering are also important factors in increasing the likelihood that our helping will be truly helpful.
Like a tailor makes a “bespoke suit” for a particular customer, our unexamined minds have a tendency tailor our own “bespoke truth” that satisfies our preferences. But, when we ignore or exclude aspects of reality that we don't prefer, we miss out on important information that could be helpful in making wise choices.
While there is great value in the transmission of knowledge from teacher to student, no teacher is as potent an instructor as lived experience. In mindfulness training, knowledge arises out of the direct experience of the teacher's own mindfulness practice and is transmitted through one's embodiment of these attitudes and practices. The teacher isn't an expert per se, but a fellow traveler on a shared journey.
Mass mindlessness causes great suffering for ourselves and other living beings. Maintaining a personal mindfulness practice may be one of the most important things we can do to liberate ourselves and the world from the tyranny of our own unexamined minds.
When we are operating on autopilot, we are vulnerable to being caught up in a self-perpetuating downward spiral of reactivity that, for some people, can lead to depression and anxiety. Training in mindfulness can help disrupt this painful pattern. A self-perpetuating upward spiral gains momentum, cultivating greater equanimity and wellbeing.