Mindfulness! Heard of It? What Does it Mean, and Where is it Showing Up in Christian Circles?

According to researcher and author Ray Yungen:

In recent years, a type of meditation known as mindfulness has made a surprising showing. Based on current trends, it has the potential to eclipse even Yoga in popularity. You will now find it everywhere that people are seeking therapeutic approaches to ailments or disorders. True to its Buddhist roots, mindfulness involves focusing on the breath to stop the normal flow of thought. In effect, it acts the same way as a mantra; and as with Yoga, it is presented as something to cure society’s ills.

Group of lit candlesLighthouse Trails has reported on mindfulness quite a bit, especially in the last few years. A few articles we have posted are:

Feds Spend $2.5 Million on Mindfulness Intervention for Kindergarteners

The dark side of meditation and mindfulness: Treatment can trigger mania, depression and psychosis, studies shows

World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Turns to Mindfulness Meditation

Yoga, Mindfulness Meditation Taking Place at Arlington National Cemetery to Commemorate Memorial Day

Children and New Age Mindfulness Meditation

To backup what Ray Yungen says about mindfulness, in an article in Psychology Today titled “How to Practice Mindful Meditation,” it explains:

In the Buddhist tradition and in Contemplative Psychotherapy training, we nurture mindfulness through the practice of sitting meditation. There are many different kinds of meditation. For example, some are designed to help us relax; others are meant to produce altered states of consciousness.

Sadly, but not too surprisingly considering how Contemplative Prayer (mindfulness’ “sister”) has made such huge inroads into Christianity, you will find mindfulness showing up in many different Christian venues now. In an article in Christian Today (a UK-based evangelical publication) titled  “Mindfulness: How it works and why Christians should practise it,” it states:

More and more Christians are learning and teaching it, though it’s still early days. Many Christians – and evangelicals in particular – are suspicious of things like meditation. There’s no need to be. Learning mindfulness is like learning any other skill. It’s what you do with it that counts.

We thought we would list a few places where “mindfulness” is showing up in Protestant Christianity. We hope this short article will alert you to this term in case it shows up one day at your church or your Bible study group:

  1. Christian Counseling Today (page 40) – This is the magazine for the AACC (American Association of Christian Counselors)
  2. Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, PA (“Christian Psychology and Mindfulness”)
  3.  Fuller Seminary (“Fuller Seminary’s School of Psychology Receives Grant for the Study of Spiritual Mindfulness and Empathy“)
  4. ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) – “Why should a Christian listen to a Buddhist nun?” (http://www.thelutheran.org/article/article.cfm?article_id=6854)
  5. Faith Postures: Cultivating Christian Mindfulness – a book by a Baylor University graduate
  6. Biola University
  7. Azusa Pacific University (“Reclaiming Mindfulness”)
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