What is mindfulness? It’s about becoming more aware and living life more fully.
At times, we can almost sleep walk through life – a small example is drinking a cup of tea without noticing, to the degree that we are surprised when we look into the mug and find it empty!
Mindfulness can help us to perceive better, see better, think better, hear better – and even become more aware of what we eat and drink, so taste better! It helps us to be more aware of ourselves, others and the world around us. And as we become more aware, we can choose to open ourselves not just to the physical, emotional and rational in life but also to the spiritual, if we choose.
Someone who knows of my Christian faith asked me this week how mindfulness relates to it. My answer is, it relates entirely!
There is a story of Jesus seeking a friend’s attention, and not that friend’s frenetic activity. The friend’s name was Martha. My sense is Jesus wanted to know Martha as the ‘human being’ she was, not as a ‘human doing’ lost in endless activity! Like Martha, we can find it hard to stop, to simply be and learn to listen. Mindfulness can teach us how to quieten ourselves, to physically stop and ‘lay down’ our thoughts and emotions. These lessons help me to prepare myself to simply be present with God’s Spirit.
There is another story of Jesus telling his friends to step away from the busyness and come to a quiet place. I often find refreshment as I intentionally set time aside to be quiet. And greater awareness of myself through the practice of mindfulness helps me to know when I need to do this. It seems a part of a divine design.
There is an instruction in ancient Christian poetic Scriptures, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’. Written long ago but so relevant: we seem to function better if we can learn to be still, to pause, to take a break. But there is more: as we still ourselves, we can choose to open ourselves to the possibility of drawing close to God, whether we have a strong belief in God or whether we are unsure what we believe.
Mindfulness has benefits for anyone and everyone, whether we have a faith or not. Practicing awareness of ourselves, others and the world all around us is a worthwhile life-long journey, regardless of who we are. But it is my experience that it is also helpful in coming into an awareness of the reality of God’s presence.
Journey well as you too seek just to ‘be’.
This is Mindful Monday on 24 May 2021.