I have a bunch of my Non-Christian friends that may feel too nervous to read on after seeing the word “Bible.” I also have a bunch of my Christian friends that may have run for the hills on seeing the words “meditation” and “mindfulness.” So for those who made it this far, well done!
Honestly, I do understand why people freak out when words like meditation, mindfulness or the Bible come up, but I’m hoping that by the end of this blog we can all walk away feeling a little lighter and breathing a little easier on these topics. While this blog is primarily a gentle challenge to some traditional Christian theology, I’m hoping it can be valuable to anyone, no matter your walk of life. Maybe it can start a good conversation with someone you know or it can just be a different perspective on the world, either way, I’m glad you’re here exploring this with me.
With that little disclaimer out of the way, let’s address the ‘elephant in the room.’ Yes, I am a Christian, and yes, I do practice mindfulness and meditation.
Before people start freaking out or prepare a stake for ‘the heretic’ to be burned on, let’s talk about what mindfulness and meditation are.
Is like it sounds. Oxford dictionary describes it as, “a mental state achieved by concentrating on the present moment, while calmly accepting the feelings and thoughts that come to you, used as a technique to help you relax.” When you read this definition, mindfulness ceases to be this ‘freaky, new-age mumbo-jumbo’ that a lot of people think it is. While some attribute the origins of mindfulness as a Buddhist practice, I would gently argue that it has long been practiced in various forms in different beliefs and cultures. 2 Corinthians 10:5 in the Bible talks about “…taking every thought captive…” or Romans 12:2 talking about being “…transformed through the renewing of your mind…”. There are so many passages in the Bible that talk about being present, setting our minds on things above, focus, perception and learning to let things go. For any Christians that have been practicing these scriptures, guess what? You’re already practicing a form of mindfulness, but before you untie me from this stake, let’s get to meditation.
Oxford dictionary defines the act of meditation as “having serious thoughts on a particular subject that somebody writes down or speaks”. Other iterations include concepts of deep or sober and reflective thought. These are good things, however meditation became a bit of a cultural buzz word in the sixties, associated with ‘new-age’ practices and ‘drug-fuelled ethereal experiences for hippies’ and meditation suddenly had a negative association in a lot of conservative Christian circles. But since I’m on this fun rollercoaster with you all already, I may as well state at this point, much to the horror of some of our conservative grandparents, if you’ve spent time in prayer, devotional times, waiting on God or in silent reflection, then you have already been practicing meditation for YEARS!! Psalms (in the Bible) mentions the practice of meditating 19 times in that one book alone. In fact, your conservative grandparents have probably also been meditating for years without even knowing it! If you tell them this and they start freaking out, just let them know they don’t have to worry since Jesus was probably one of the greatest meditation ‘gurus’ of His time. He spent so much of his time with people, but equally in time getting away from everything to be with the Lord and meditate. In fact, he did it for 40 days straight in the desert. Now that’s commitment! If at this point your grandparents are just straight up angry, you can tell them I told you this, and I will take the blame. However, you need to at least let them know that the Bible mentions the words meditate or meditation even more than it mentions the word embrace (hug). So before your grandparents go to ‘bring it in with the love of the Lord’ next Sunday, they should just remember that the Lord saw it fit to suggest the practice of meditating even more than those Sunday hugs we all know and sometimes love.
Sweet. Well now that I’m down from the stake and we all can agree that mindfulness and meditation are good practices for us, I’m gonna go away prep some of my top tips for mindful living and bring them back to you in my next blog. Thanks for hanging out with me and I’ll look forward to catching up with you again soon. Till then,