Can Christians Practice Mindfulness?

There are two trends I’m interested in right now: mindfulness and minimalism. I want to address the first today.

In case you’re unfamiliar with mindfulness, it’s simply “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”[1] Thanks to social media and the internet, something that was once intrinsic has become an art form.

We’re never bored. Very few of us enjoy a beautiful day instead of documenting it. We’re so eager to share with our “friends” how great “our world” is that we forget to experience the beauties God is giving us in the moment. Our desires to craft a personal image online have removed the pleasure of experiencing small things, without care for who does or doesn’t know how satisfying our present moment is.

This is where mindfulness can be helpful. But, what about Christians? Can we be “mindful”? The Christian culture I observed growing up has been allergic to meditation. Much of the rejection is founded in Scripture, since the Word calls us to focus our meditations there. Too much inward focus can also make a Christian too self-interested, losing sight of the One who is worthy of all of our thoughts and affections.

Still, some of the thought pattern of mindfulness is needed in our lives today, so here are three ways for us to be mindful Christians.

  1. Limit what you post on social media/technological interaction. Create a set list in your mind of what you will and won’t post. For example, I don’t even think to post sunsets (or any other “pretty” nature photos) anymore because I simply want to enjoy the moment. Likewise, I don’t worry about documenting how much I love someone on their birthday. Instead I choose to spend quality time solely devoted to him or her. I believe that choice displays love and value more than a social media post declaring my affection to the world. In other words, take in your surroundings and relationships more, and your Facebook feed less.
  2. Focus your attention on the “now.” Every moment is a blessing from the Lord as it allows us to experience life alongside Him. Become a more sensory person as you experience the aesthetic beauty of the world.
  3. Focus your attention in the now on what God is doing. This is how small acts of Christ-like kindness originate. It’s the arena where prayer thrives. It’s the atmosphere where joy and contentment grow best. Be satisfied with right now, and look for visual, emotional, and spiritual representations of God’s grace. His Word will come alive as we begin to connect our world with His presence.

These thoughts may be a little too feeling-oriented for you, but give it some time practicing this way of living. Less technology, more presence in the moment, and more focus on Jesus’ activity is a recipe for a rich experience every day with the Lord.

 [1] http://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/

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