But, given human nature, good things get abused. Craigslist gave us access to help-wanted ads without having to pony up the cost of The New York Times to check the classified. Soon enough, the disturbed used Craiglist to troll for victims to harm.
Mindfulness programs are no different. They, as well as many other well-intentioned approaches to calming our monkey minds, can have quite negative side effects.
At the top of the list is addiction. We all know how the space created by abandoning one addiction can be filled with another. Classic is the drunk who sobers up and yet still neglects family by compulsively attending 12-step meetings. At the Buddhist temple in Tucson, Arizona are those who not only never miss daily cushion time. They add to that with yoga all around the town and enrolling in paid seminars to develop a deeper understanding of meditation.
Next is the smugness: I am on the path to enlightenment, you aren't. With that could come evangelism.
But the worst unintended consequence could be the reduction in the old-line Protestant work ethic. There seems to be a fear that intensity about one's professional life will eat into the hard-won gift of serenity. That could be a career-killer in most of the legal sector. One has to be totally compulsive to get work, attend to all the details, monitor tells in the opposition, and get more work.
After joining a 12-step program and practicing mindfulness in a secular setting, a young lawyer decided he couldn't go on with the hellish hours of the mid-sized law firm and remain serene. He enrolled in a master's degree program in psychiatric social work. After graduation, he landed what others considered a plum job. That was conducting the therapy for the clients of a psychiatrist. Well, it turned out the psychiatrist, just like law partners, hammered him to generate more and more billable time from each client. The guy was smart. He ditched the objective of remaining serene and aimed to hang onto his job and stay off the booze. He's doing fine.