Mindfulness & Christianity

As discussed in the Context of Mindfulness, the practice of being mindful has its origins in the Buddhist tradition, specifically Buddhist meditation.  For some Christians, however, despite the fact that Christian leaders, Christians, as well as Saints throughout history practiced meditation and therefore mindfulness, mindfulness can be a scary concept.

Well, it is Easter Sunday (if you celebrate, Happy Easter!) and I thought addressing concerns of conflict between Christian beliefs and the practice of mindfulness would be worthwhile.  If we simply reexamine the definition of mindfulness, we see it is: 1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something or 2. a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.  Therefore, mindfulness isn't a religion--it is a way to approach your religious convictions and your daily life.

This means being right here, right now.  Reading this post.  Simplifying life to one thing at a time--the way sometimes we wish our children, students, or colleagues might just put the phone away long enough to have a full conversation...  If you take time to pray and give thanks, do you concentrate on only what you're saying/ thinking for the duration?  To demonstrate your respect and reverence for God, you likely remove all distractions and focus your mind on your gratitude, praise, and requests.  If you have, you've practiced mindfulness.

It means giving up our worry about what will happen in the future (Matthew 6:34, Luke 12:22, Philippians 4:6, 1 Peter 5:7) or dwelling on what has happened in the past (Isaiah 43:18, 2 Corinthians 5:17).

It means allowing yourself to exist.  Mindfulness could even assist with giving you the freedom to trust that your life is going where its meant to go; it could be loving and accepting others and reserving judgments (Mark 12:32-33, Romans 12:10, Luke 6:37, Matthew 7:1 ).

The other concept that corresponds with mindfulness is denunciation of worldly possessions and of the things of the world, similar to the Buddhist practice.  In Christian scriptures, this is articulated in a number of verses as well (1 John 2:15-16, Romans 12:2, 1 Timothy 6:10).

So, if you're spending quality time with family this weekend, celebrating with the people you love, appreciate, and cherish the most, take some time to be grateful and be sure to be present throughout it all.  Have a happy and mindful day!