A path, not a tool

Right mindfulness is, first of all, not a tool or an instrument, but a path. Right mindfulness is not a means that can be used to arrive at an end. A tool is something that can be used in different ways, like a knife. If you give someone a knife, he might use it to chop wood or cut vegetables, but he could also use it to kill or to steal. Mindfulness is not like a knife. It’s not a tool that can either do good or bad. And yet many of us speak of mindfulness as a tool. We say that with mindfulness we can heal; with mindfulness we can reconcile; with mindfulness we can make more money; even the military now says that with mindfulness we can kill the enemy more effectively. By Thich Nhat Hahn, 21-Day Retreat, 2014