Christian mindfulness has been a sensitive topic of late, but I am here to put your mind at ease. Mindful meditation is not a religion. Mindfulness is a practice of the body and mind, where an individual focuses their attention on the present moment. It’s so simple that you can use mindfulness in your daily routine. The aim is to create opportunities for non-judgmental active awareness, compassion, and patience. Christian meditation uses this awareness as an opportunity to focus on God.
Is Mindfulness A religion?
I know many Christians who are skeptical of mindfulness because of its roots in Eastern Religions. However, it is gaining in popularity and is being implemented in different institutions all over the world. The benefits are far reaching so it makes sense that everyone should be practicing it.
Mindfulness is a psychological technique that teaches people to pay attention to all their thoughts, emotions and sensations while encouraging them to live in compassionate and kind awareness. It is not a technique that “clears the mind”, as a practice it teaches us to observe the mind instead.
Mindfulness teaches us to be more in control of our lives, so we become more patient, loving and kind. As far as I understand it, it teaches you to become a better person and therefore a better Christian. So why not try it today?
Spiritual And Christian Meditation
Meditation in and of itself simply means to bring yourself into a heightened state of awareness. We use this state of mind to focus our attention on a specific object, word, or on God. However, we can also use meditation to become aware of ourselves in the present moment.
Christian meditation is a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to become aware of and reflect upon the revelations of God. The word meditation comes from the Latin word meditārī, which has a range of meanings including to reflect on, to study and to practice. Christian meditation is the process of deliberately focusing on specific thoughts (such as a bible passage) and reflecting on their meaning in the context of the love of God.– Wikipedia
As human beings, we have an innate ability to think about something and be conscious. We have the potential to step back from our experiences and observe. Yet, how often do you get overwhelmed by your thoughts and let your mind wander? How often do you miss out on the splendor of life and even lose the voice of God? We are so distracted in our lives today that we often miss out on so many important moments. Mindfulness teaches you how to pay attention again. It will bring you back to focusing on God and God’s Kingdom.
INTRODUCTION TO MINDFULNESS
Mindfulness embraces the here and now while encouraging you to trust that the future is taken care of in God’s hands – Giving us the opportunity to embrace the present. When we bring awareness to our mind, we are able to sieve out the negative thought patterns we have become accustomed to and create a state of clarity and peace. The clearer your mind is, the easier it is to make healthy choices and decisions. Being mindful also gives you the strength and courage to practice empathy, compassion, and love toward yourself and others.
Think of mindful meditation as a brain exercise, similar to a crossword puzzle or Sudoku. Practicing mindfulness stimulates areas of the brain that help people to focus and therefore, can help improve concentration. Other studies demonstrate how mindfulness can change the brain on a chemical level and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Read this article to find out more about the positive effects mindfulness has on the brain.
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh”
Mindfulness and Christianity
Below I would like to show you how you can blend the practice of mindfulness and Christianity. What you will notice is that mindful contemplation and silence, and awareness of experience; is a common and fundamental practice found in most secular, spiritual and religious traditions.
1. Focus on the present moment
Practicing mindfulness means actively paying attention to the present, and living in the moment. It teaches you to stop feeling guilty about the past, or worrying about the future and allows you to reflect on God’s promises in the here and now. Staying in the present moment means you can engage in activities that absorb your full attention, like mindful walking, mindful cooking, or mindful driving; or take this opportunity to pray and think about God.
2. Becoming fully human
Christianity teaches us love and acceptance. The main theme throughout scripture is to be wholly accepting of all people. To not judge or put people down, but to love one another and treat others with respect despite their differences. To ensure that love is the foundation of all relationships, with others and with God, and to live in community with one another.
Mindfulness embodies all of these values and sees beyond boundaries of race, sex, religion, and age. Mindfulness shows us how to be non-judgmental, to accept humanity in its entirety, with all our strengths and flaws. In this acceptance, we learn what a gift it is to be alive. Mindfulness teaches us to connect to others and the world as part of a larger whole. Practicing gratitude, compassion, and equality is the foundation of Mindfulness.
3. Connect with God
Christian meditation focuses on God and helps strengthen your relationship with Christ. It also improves mental and spiritual wellbeing. In prayer, we develop deep attention. So, if you want to “meditate” on scripture, instead of holding onto your breath, then you are bringing about a focused awareness and developing mindfulness. It is all about what you do with it.
I had a client who used mindfulness in Church. Instead of allowing all her worries and thoughts to engulf her during the service, she stayed focused on the sermon. By minimizing her thoughts about who was sitting behind her, and what people thought about her, she was able to truly immerse herself in the beauty of the moment, therefore, strengthening her connection to God.
Mindfulness And Christian Meditation
Christian meditation is a method of spiritual worship whereby you reflect what your mind and soul have ingested during the course of the day. You can do this via prayer or reading the Bible, ultimately, mindfulness is about contemplating what God has revealed to you in this world. If you look at it this way, mediation is being attentive to God. Many Christian traditions place an emphasis on meditation and I am going to illustrate some of these below.
1. Meditate On Scripture
Words of Scripture contain eternal wisdom. Meditation happens when you study the meanings of passages and memorize them. Through Scripture, you discover the deeper meaning of the word of God and what application they hold for you. Christian meditation should be a time of worship and fellowship with God.
2. Centering Prayer
Some Christians use a centering prayer before formal worship. This is a silent moment which prepares the individual to become more present and open to God.
3. Lectio Divina
This formal Christian meditation means “divine reading”, and it is a method of reading the Scriptures. You do this slowly and deliberately, letting go of your own agenda and becoming open to what God wants to communicate with you.
4. The Rosary
The Rosary is a string of beads on which prayers are counted and used to focus devotion. Using the rosary is a form of Mantra meditation, and you do this is by praying with the Rosary using a Mantra such as “Hail Mary”. When you repeat the mantra over and over, the individual feels the presence of God.
” The important aim in Christian Meditation is to allow God’s mysterious and silent presence within us to become more and more not only a reality but the reality which gives meaning, shape and purpose to everything we do, everything we are”
Christian Guided Meditation
Below is a Christian guided meditation, it will only take 20 minutes out of your day, but it will bring you stillness and relaxation in the presence of God. Give it a try and let me know?
There are many misconceptions around mindfulness and meditation in the religious community. Christian meditation is about deepening your connection with God. Christian meditation is about living a life where you deeply reflect on the word of God. So, ultimately if you want to become a better person and a better Christian, why not try Christian meditation today?