These days you may have heard that a growing trend in psychology is what is called mindfulness meditation. The idea is relatively simple. By learning to listen with an “non-judgmental awareness” to one’s experience of reality, psychologists are finding that one is able to cultivate greater inner harmony and many health related benefits. One example is that mindfulness can help lower the physical markers of stress such as high blood pressure. Many books have been written on the subject, and I think that have many great insights that are worth our attention.
In the Christian context, we can integrate such insights into our own meditation practices. At the heart of Christian meditation is an on-going relationship with Jesus Christ. The key difference between mindfulness meditation and Christian meditation is not in technique, but rather in this interpersonal dimension. Whereas mindfulness meditation generally involves us exploring our experience in isolation, Christians do so in the free discourse with Jesus.
As we walk with Jesus, we learn to relate to him all the features of our life. This involves our physical experiences as well as our thoughts, feelings, and desires. We learn to bring before him everything that is going on, all in a posture of receptivity and gratitude. In this sense, when I say that there is such a thing as Christian mindfulness, I am not arguing for a practice that adds something new to Christianity. Rather, the insights of mindfulness can help accentuate features of Christian meditation which can be neglected or forgotten.
So let us grow in intimacy with Jesus. Let us explore our interior life in a relationship of trust with him who desires our happiness and fulfilment. Let us hold nothing back from him desires us to give everything.