Mindfulness is a very important practice. It’s especially helpful when we are overwhelmed by daily obligations and responsibilities.
In its simplest form, mindfulness can be referred to as moment awareness. To be mindful, we must be aware of our present state of mind. We can achieve this through meditation.
When we practice mindfulness, we become aware of the present moment. Buddhists have used this concept in meditation for centuries. Yet don't be mistaken, mindful meditation is not a religion, and you can implement it into a Christian lifestyle.
In this article, we will examine what mindfulness is, how mindful meditation is practiced in the Christian lifestyle, and how mindfulness can assist in setting ground rules for positive mind frames and improve physical health.
Mindfulness is a mental state used in therapeutic settings. It’s characterized by focusing your awareness on the present moment. In short, it’s more attention-based.
While you're in this state of mind, you’re calm. During a state of mindfulness, you’re aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. You are also keenly aware of your breathing pattern.
Mindfulness meditation is based on many other techniques using elements of Tibetan, Vipassanā, and Zen practices.
Buddhism focuses on the present and feels bodily sensations without worrying about judgment. As Christians, we know that God does not judge us. That non-judgmental attitude is extremely important to our community and can be beneficial if implemented into other lifestyles as well.
There are many benefits of mindfulness. Some can be an improvement to your well-being. It can also improve your physical health and an overall improvement to your quality of life.
The Bible claims meditation is another way of speaking with God. Psalms 48:9 speaks of meditation directly “Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.” as does Joshua 1:8 “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.”
The Bible even tells us how to meditate when speaking to the Lord. There is much overlap between how we are told to meditate in the scripture and how modern-day mindful meditation is conducted.
Three big principles of this form of meditation are; silence, stillness, and solitude.
Here are some examples of displaying these characteristics, which Jesus himself even participated in.
Matthew 6:6: “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Matthew 14:23: “After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone”
Psalms 37:7: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.”
According to the Bible, mindfulness plays a key factor in being aware of our own meditation and the benefits we can gain from this practice. Knowing Jesus practiced this form of meditation should help us take solace in practicing it within our daily lives.
Mindful meditation is one of the easier meditation practices out there. You don’t need to attend meetings or gather in groups with similar goals. You don’t even need a room dedicated to this form of meditation or special accessories such as candles, incense, or totems.
In the Bible, Jesus has shown us the simplest form of meditation. All you need to speak and connect with God is you.
Find a quiet area in your home where you can be uninterrupted. While in this area, remain in a sitting position as you focus on your breathing. You also want to be aware of your body's physical sensations. Your feet, legs, torso, arms, and neck; be aware of each limb.
It’s common for your thoughts to stray and distract you, especially when you’re just starting out. But once you’re aware of your mind straying, you can successfully bring it back to the focus point.
During mindful meditation, the goal is to silence your mind from the outside world, including distractions and feelings of being overwhelmed by daily life. Focus on being present in that moment and be aware of your breathing. Through this technique, meditation is seen as mindfulness-based stress reduction.
Some who practice this form of meditation prefer a guided method. For further information on a more guided approach, lookup Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR).
However, just because therapists have found this useful in a professional setting, remember as Christians, we can use it in its simplest form; that being speaking with Jesus.
A great aspect of mindful meditation is that it can be practiced on the go as well. You do not always have to be in the same spot in your home. You can be in your car or in a hotel room.
While performing daily functions and activities, you don't have to feel like you’re simply going through the motions. Instead, ground yourself in the moment while brushing your hair, exercising, or taking time to eat lunch.
Usually, you are just going through the motions as you perform these tasks, but don't let that be the case anymore. You can use these times to be fully present in the moment and make the most out of every second. These actions can mean so much more once you open your mind.
Another great benefit is that mindful meditation does not require a set amount of time each day. There’s no need to find egg timers or set an alarm on your phone. As part of a society that’s always on the go, you may be overwhelmed at the thought of implementing a new task into your busy life, but try not to look at it that way.
This is a form of meditation that can bring positive energy and clarity into your life, and it does not need to take much time away from your busy schedule.
If all you have is 10 minutes to sit in silence, use it. God is always listening.
Just these few minutes each day can contribute to your mindfulness training and continued self-awareness. Some days you may have more time than others to focus on mindful meditation, but the important thing to remember is to make every minute count.
There are many health benefits associated with mindfulness. As you practice your mindfulness exercises, your state of awareness increases. You will become more aware of your thought patterns and hopefully develop a more positive mindset. This will increase your self-esteem.
Overall, in time you should see an increase in your quality of life.
Through reactivity, you will see changes in your daily life as you continue your mindfulness practices, and so will those around you. Through mindfulness we can open ourselves fully to the world around us and be more appreciative of God’s love.