Blog Menu

Is ‘mindfulness’ Christian?

Mindfulness is the topic of the moment. The father of one of our daughter’s friends was seriously injured in Iraq, and he has only been able to recover a sense of stability in life by means of mindfulness. (He was part of Gareth Malone’s Invictus choir at the Rio Paralympics.) Mindfulness is increasingly being seen as part of the NHS strategy for addressing growing levels of mental health problems across the country. But what should Christians make of it? Is it a backdoor to Buddhism?

The latest Grove Spirituality booklet addresses this. The author, Tim Stead, is both ordained in the Church of England and an accredited mindfulness instructor. The booklet aims to help Christians gain a fuller appreciation of mindfulness and addresses three questions: ‘Is mindfulness Christian?’ ‘Is it biblical?’ ‘Is it prayer?’ It also looks at three ways in which mindfulness might contribute to Christian spirituality. The first question is simply to understand what ‘mindfulness’ is.


Jon Kabat-Zinn describes mindfulness on his website as, ‘Paying attention…on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.’ Or, more simply, ‘being here, now!’ On the whole, when we experience pain or discomfort of any kind we want to be anywhere other than here, now, and our minds have all sorts of ways and means to help us to be somewhere else. But reduction of stress and anxiety, management of pain and anything we might call healing will never come through our absenting ourselves from the situation. This, I feel, is also true of prayer.

There are four aspects to the definition above. Paying attention is simply a skill which needs practising and is always the starting point in mindfulness. Turning towards our experience is not quite as natural as we may think, as so often it is our experience we are trying to avoid. Staying with the present moment is also a skill to be learned as the mind seems to want to wander, either to replaying the past or planning or worrying about the future. And finally, even when we manage to spend just a few moments truly present to our experience in this moment, our minds are quick to judge it as either a good or a bad experience, something I should or should not be having or something I do or do not want to be having. But we cannot do anything about our experience in this moment and so judging it in this way will only add more strife and tension to our situation. We can do something about the choices we subsequently make once we have more fully engaged with our experience, but the experience itself is simply our experience, and all we can really do is to become more fully aware of it by paying attention to it.

So, in a nutshell, mindfulness is the learned skill of staying present to each moment of our experience throughout the day so that we can experience life more fully and make choices which lead to better outcomes for self and for others. Would it be reasonable to suggest that these are also things we would hope for through our prayer lives?


The remainder of this explanatory chapter then looks at the ways in which mindfulness is being taught and used, and asks how this might challenge Christian approaches to teaching prayer. Do we teach about prayer systematically? Should we? The central chapter of the booklet then tackles the key questions head on.


Is Mindfulness Christian?

This is often asked because people have heard about its connections with Buddhism and want to feel assured that they are not being asked to engage with a spirituality which is not Christian. There are two main answers to this.

The first is that the mindfulness which is found in the mainstream and clinical contexts of today is not part of any religious or spiritual tradition but is set in the scientific and specifically psychological sphere. Yes, some way back many insights and techniques were taken from contemporary Buddhist practices but the religious beliefs and spirituality were left alone. Since this early contact with Buddhism, it is the world of psychology and neuroscience which has developed mindfulness in order to respond to physical and mental health needs and not spiritual needs. So mindfulness, as I have received it, is not Buddhist any more than a healthy vegetarian diet is Buddhist. In his latest book, The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet, the TV science presenter Michael Mosley argues that for a healthy life we need three things: good diet; good exercise; and healthy minds, for which he suggests mindfulness practice. If Christians ought to be interested in looking after their ‘temples of the Holy Spirit,’ one might argue that mindfulness (or some equivalent, perhaps as part of our practice of prayer) is something Christians should be practising.

The second answer is to note how similar some of the techniques are to those suggested by the great mystics who have explored contemplative forms of prayer. My own inspirations have been Teresa of Avila and the Eastern Orthodox Jesus Prayer tradition, and I was struck by the similarity of many of the techniques used. So Christians have been using the same techniques that mindfulness employs for centuries, which leads me to suggest that, even if it is not explicitly Christian, it is entirely compatible with Christian spirituality. An excellent survey of contemplative prayer down the centuries can be found in Journey to the Heart, edited by Kim Nataraja.

Is Mindfulness Biblical?

The difficulty with this question is that the Bible contains very little about the practicalities of prayer. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, he did not tell them precisely what he had been up to for the last hour or so on his own in the hills, but he gave them a set of words (‘Our Father…’) perhaps as a structure around which they could base their saying of prayers. Our sense of Christian spirituality comes mainly through biblical story but technique is almost entirely absent. Instead, technique is something we have learned from the great Christians who have found practical ways of allowing the person of Christ to become real and true for them in their experience, and is not primarily found in the Bible.

Having said that, I would also want to argue very strongly that the aspirations behind mindfulness are deeply compatible with many biblical texts. And these are, quite simply, the texts which have been used over the centuries to guide people in contemplative forms of prayer. Two of the most obvious are related here.

One of the central aims of mindfulness is to help people to ‘wake up,’ to become aware of what they were not aware of up to that point. A fuller awareness leads to an awareness of the choices before us and the opportunity, should we have strayed, to return to the path of following Christ. This is exactly what happened to the prodigal son after he ‘came to his senses,’ as the NIV puts it. Waking up to a fuller awareness of what is under our noses enables us to become more fully aware of God and God’s will for us. Mindfulness is concerned, perhaps more than anything else, with enabling this awareness to happen.

The other most often quoted example is that of Mary and Martha battling it out in Luke 10. It is, indeed, a wonderfully human picture of what we are all like, torn between action and contemplation, doing tasks for the Lord and listening to him. Jesus does not condemn Martha’s activism but does remind her, and all of us, that listening must come first. Mindfulness constantly teaches this.

Is Mindfulness Prayer?

Approaching God in prayer is a frustrating business at times, not least because God is a totally free being and will not simply turn up in the way we would want God to turn up just because we have made a specific request. There is a mystery about God that is and always will be beyond our understanding. This is why the contemplatives have learned that the only way to approach God is with a certain kind of open, loving attentiveness which does not demand particular answers but simply waits on, and is ready to behold, the vision of goodness, truth and beauty that God is. We come with no agenda but only a willingness to respond to whatever is revealed to us of the divine presence. This kind of attention is hard. In fact, it is very hard. The only way is to practise it daily and this is what we do in mindfulness—we practise this kind of attentiveness until it becomes a habit. The subtitle of my book on the subject is Making Space for God and my suggestion is that, even if it is not quite prayer itself, it can be instrumental in making space for prayer (or encounter with God) to happen.

On the other hand, a friend told me how he practiced 15 minutes of mindfulness before his personal Bible study and that he found that he was much more open to God’s word to him through the Bible as a result. He concluded that, therefore, the mindfulness practice when done with the intention of opening up to God must be prayer! Is preparation for prayer actually prayer? Perhaps it is.


The following chapters then explore the role that mindfulness can play in spirituality and discipleship. One of the comments that struck me most forcefully was the importance of rest as a theological priority.


In Christian spirituality it all starts, rather wonderfully, with rest. In Genesis 1 humans enter the scene when all the work has already been done. Good timing, you may say. In Hebrews there is an eloquent exposition of the principle of God’s people entering Sabbath rest (Heb 4.1–11). And it is no surprise that one of the best loved pieces of poetry in the Bible, Psalm 23, describes so beautifully the idea of rest in God’s care by cool waters. Jesus himself seems to affirm all this in his exchange with Mary and Martha by suggesting that, although the work does need to be done, it is resting and listening which take priority.

Other metaphors for God in the psalms align with this idea by describing God as our rock, our refuge, our shelter (cf Ps 91.1–6). And in the story of the stilling of the storm we have the image of Jesus being the still point in the middle of any storm (Mark 4.35–41).

And so this is where it must start for us human beings. Before taking a step forward with God we need to know we are safe, secure, in good hands. Only then will we dare to take the risks that need to be taken if we are to progress in the spiritual life. The difficulty is that we seem to find it so difficult to enter this promised rest. Perhaps it is our upbringing which taught us that to be acceptable we had to achieve certain standards all the time. Perhaps it is our culture which seems to demand the same. Or perhaps it is inbuilt into our psychological make-up. But, for many of us, the rest we long for does not come easily. We feel instead the constant drive to do things, to sort things, to fix things. Meanwhile God is just longing for us simply to be, to rest, ‘like a child in its mother’s arms’ (Psalm 131).


s138_sm_cover_1024x1024This is surely essential as a counter-cultural commitment in our very busy world.

You can order the booklet, post-free in the UK, from the Grove website.


Follow me on Twitter @psephizoLike my page on Facebook.


Much of my work is done on a freelance basis. If you have valued this post, would you consider donating £1.20 a month to support the production of this blog?

, , , , , ,

19 Responses to Is ‘mindfulness’ Christian?

  1. Mat Sheffield October 7, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    I am not so sure…

    I would certainly agree that mindfulness prioritizes both listening and rest, which benefit our prayer lives in ways that we rarely take advantage of. I would also agree that a lot of our christian ‘fear’ of mindfulness is based on a largely unfounded connection to Buddhism.

    That said, I still have many questions/concerns (if that’s the right word) about some aspects of mindfulness relating to what you have written here.

    1. When resisting the connection to Buddhist practice (rightly) you are keen to point out that the origins of modern mindfulness practice are psychology and the sciences. I am no psychology ‘alarmist’, but is this really better? If what we are seeking is better Christian Spirituality and prayer, then these overtly ‘human’ realms of study seem like an odd place to begin; have we not simply traded eastern mysticism for western humanism? That is what it sounds like (see Q5 below).

    2. I am surprised by the use of several phrases; most of all “waking up” and “becoming aware”, the common appeal to seek experiences of God, as well as the way in which God is described in general. I do not disagree with the sentiment I believe you are trying to express here (and you are right to link it back to church practice in history and draw comparisons here), but the language used can cause problems.

    First, it was the language of the Gnostics, and it so sounds very suspicious on the ears of the biblically literate, even if it actually isn’t. “Follow our practice and what was previously hidden will be revealed”, they said. Second, it sounds like the very mystic practices you want to avoid the connection with. The sentence most indicative of this is;

    “This is why the contemplatives have learned that the only way to approach God is with a certain kind of open, loving attentiveness which does not demand particular answers but simply waits on, and is ready to behold, the vision of goodness, truth and beauty that God is. We come with no agenda but only a willingness to respond to whatever is revealed to us of the divine presence.”

    This language seems too far away from the imagery we have of drawing into God’s presence in the bible. There is no throne, no angels singing God’s glory, no temple, no mention of light, no mention of glory, holiness, awe and no mention of our own condition/status as we come before him. This language relegates God to a passive force of “goodness”, to whom we can come so long as we are open and willing to do so, and this is at best a part-truth. The “still waters” of the Psalms are the place God leads us to, not the place we need to be to start the journey.

    3. Related to the above quote, I am not sure we can have “agenda-free” prayer. Mary sits as Jesus’ feet not solely because she wants to soak in his presence, as is implied, but because she wants to learn from him and hear what he has to say to her. She might have had questions, or needed advice, or reassurance?

    4. I think mindfulness as “non-judgemental” is an odd concept to square with the christian task to be discerning and exercise prudent judgement in all things and on all things. I agree that this attitude would and does reduce stress and anxiety, but I would also argue that sometimes stress and anxiety are good, some situations should get us cross, angry, frustrated and it is then most of all that we should be honest with God about how we feel and come to him in prayer, where in his presence we can find peace and stillness. Mindfulness appears to put this the other way around; find peace, then come to God.

    5. In the whole article there is not one single mention (correct me if I’m wrong) of the Holy Spirit. Spirituality yes, but not the person.

    I have other questions too, more specific, but I do not want to seem like I am bashing mindfulness for the sake of it so I will save them. I was skeptical, and having read this extract, I remain wary and unconvinced.

    • Mat Sheffield October 7, 2016 at 10:32 am #

      I’ll just quickly add that I will buy the Grove book and do some more reading, and that I am open to recommended books/articles/blogs on the subject. Being unconvinced right now does not mean I am stubbornly going to resist having my mind changed…
      .

    • Emma Rourke ?? May 16, 2017 at 12:33 am #

      Matt, everything you have brought up, I have thought too. I am a christian, and currently studying Equine facilitated Human Development, in short horses helping people with emotional problems. They have been training us in the body scan a mindfulness technique. I have been very wary as I want sure if I was supposed to be doing this as a bible believing christian. I asked the holy spirit to show me if I was doing anything that would dishonour God, its true this introspection or intuitive knowing they want you to look within through using the sensations that arise in your body as information. I believe the Lord has kept me safe with it because I am covered by the blood of Jesus, but now on further research I realise mindfulness originates in vipassna meditation, which is buddhist. It also has spiritual elements that are quite contrary to what christianity teaches, I believe we must “test the spirits” against the light of the holy spirit, who leads us into all truth, and stick close to the word of God which is our benchmark. Jesus always answered with scripture, as he is the living word of God. I have also just discovered that mindfulness can trigger depression, and PTSD, it is also the thin end of the wedge for inviting the demonic. I am now in a dilemma with what I am studying, I was suspicious to begin with, but I believe God has put me there for a reason, if we can use a form of stilling our mind, but invite the holy spirit, I believe we will have safe results.

  2. Leon October 7, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    There seem to be a load of books on Christian approaches to mindfulness at the moment. I’d also recommend Stefan Reynolds’ book for those interested in the subject https://www.amazon.co.uk/Living-Mind-Christ-Mindfulness-Spirituality/dp/0232532508

  3. Oliver Harrison October 7, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

    I believe tea drinking was part of a Buddhist ritual ceremony so maybe the more concerned or fearful might want to give their morning cuppa a miss too?

  4. simon October 7, 2016 at 10:08 pm #

    Not sure what this offers the Christian – why would one want to practise mindfulness when the Jesus Prayer, or Scriptural meditation, or praying in the Spirit, or Biblical recitation or…..were available???? Seems like its trading in a pearl of great price for soil!

  5. Ian H October 7, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

    “Waking up to a fuller awareness of what is under our noses enables us to become more fully aware of God and God’s will for us.”
    I’m preaching on Neh 4 this week. It contains the prompt ‘Remember the Lord….’

    I can see mindfulness as making space to ‘remember’ God. This is not a mere ‘I remember God’ but a drawing of his saving grace and acts into the moment present with us. Perhaps a kind of ‘amenesis, a communion moment ;’in remembrance of me’? That sounds biblical to me.

    • simon October 7, 2016 at 10:48 pm #

      Ian H – that does sound Biblical – problem for me is, Mindfulness is not an anamnesis, its technique is consciously a NOT remembering of the Lord – but a being present to self and one’s senses in the the moment. It is a spirituality of existentialism. It is not space for God, but space for me. One is not encouraged to meditate, reflect, celebrate, consider, enjoy, respond to God’s Word, acts, revelation – nor a centring in on his presence – it is not intercession not thanksgiving- it is simply being fully present to yourself in the moment – without reference to God’s past or present or future. Just me now. And I think that is sub-Christian. Its precisely the conscious vacuous absenting of God that concerns me about mindfulness.

      • Ian H October 8, 2016 at 9:30 am #

        Simon…thanks. I guess I’m probably addressing what mindfulness could be or what a fuller grasp of it from the angle of ‘the whole truth’ would make it.

        Without God it’s never going to be complete though maybe it’s not entirely bad to encourage a ‘stop and consider’? Perhaps God might invade that on occasion? After all he is present in the moment.

        (Maybe it’s my email address which is clouding my mind ‘@me.com’? 😉 )

        • David Shepherd October 9, 2016 at 9:03 am #

          Ian H,

          You speculate about encouraging ‘stop and consider’: ‘perhaps God might invade that on occasion’.

          This approach lacks the intentionality of responding to God’s call to seek his audience; ‘You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” (Ps. 27:8)

          Simon is right in describing mindfulness as the ‘spirituality of existentialism’. For example, St. Paul’s declaration on account of the resurrection: ‘if any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature’ is a far cry from the existential freedom, whereby the ground of our choices and perception begin with ourselves.

          If anything, the serpent tempted Eve to step off the precipice of God-given truth into a free-fall existential ‘freedom’: ‘You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’

  6. David L October 8, 2016 at 7:51 am #

    I’m glad I’m not the only one wary of mindfulness. For me it’s not that the techniques of mindfulness can’t be helpful – they can and this article focuses on that. It’s that the dynamics of mindfulness seem to head in a direction counter to much of Christian worship, particularly the Psalms

    I’m struck that in trouble the dynamic of the Psalms is to look out of yourself then find stability within yourself -i turn my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from… That out to in dynamic is the polar opposite to the in to out dynamic of mindfulness. We shouldn’t require to open our own blood eyes to good before approaching him. All too often the opening of blind eyes is the request we to God for, not ourselves.

    Where mindfulness in modern use is about objectively experiencing the present moment, almost a stoic approach, the Psalms highlight the subjective approach -this is how I feel, this hope I do it don’t understand things. Just because that subjectivity moves towards seeing it within the bigger picture of God and his works doesn’t make it the same dynamic of settling objective sight

  7. David Shepherd October 8, 2016 at 4:22 pm #

    Ian,

    Your article mentions Jon Kabat-Zinn, who is probably responsible for the most popular modern mindfulness programme, known as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction or MSBR.

    In seeking to dispel the notion that the modern mindfulness techniques require engagement un-Christian spirituality, you wrote: the mindfulness which is found in the mainstream and clinical contexts of today is not part of any religious or spiritual tradition but is set in the scientific and specifically psychological sphere.

    Well, the typical 8-week intensive training in mindfulness meditation uses a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness, and yoga to help people become more mindful (see Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness)

    Instead of reflecting upon glorious return of Christ (‘look up for your redemption draws near’) or the certain promises of God in the midst of hardship (‘if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him’), one of the first exercises contemplates a raisin:
    Holding: First, take a raisin and hold it in the palm of your hand or between your finger and thumb. Focusing on it, imagine that you’ve just dropped in from Mars and have never seen an object like this before in your life.

    Seeing: Take time to really see it; gaze at the raisin with care and full attention. Let your eyes explore every part of it, examining the highlights where the light shines, the darker hollows, the folds and ridges, and any asymmetries or unique features.

    Touching: Turn the raisin over between your fingers, exploring its texture, maybe with your eyes closed if that enhances your sense of touch

    Another technique of body scanning entails quietly lying on one’s back and focusing one’s attention on various regions of the body, starting with the toes and moving up slowly to the top of the head.

    Attendees are also taught a series of basic hatha yoga postures.

    All of this might appear quite innocuous, until we recognize that the ultimate goal of hatha yoga is moksha, or ‘liberation’ from our incarnational individuality:

    As one writer explains: ‘Moksha is the sanskrit word for the fourth goal of life, indicating emancipation, which in the yogic sense may be defined as freedom from duality, or from dualistic thinking. Non-duality is a state of awareness whereby the subject -object split is healed and the egoic small self, the felt sense of being a limited individual, is liberated into an expanded feeling of being universal and infinite.’

    In terms of escaping this subject-object divide, another exponent of mindfulness, John Steve Shealy, Ph. D. writes:

    ‘We’ve also been known to resist a new opportunity, a new friend or lover, an emerging state of inner expansion, even when we sense that something good could happen if we opened up to it. We resist creating space in our overscheduled lives. We resist our own intuitive understandings, and also the inward pull into meditation–often out of an unexamined fear of what we might find if we let ourselves move into
    our inner spaces. Especially, I’ve noticed, we resist letting go of our limitations–real or imagined–and stepping into our own largeness, our greater self.

    And what he describes as: ‘stepping into our own largeness, our greater self’ is exactly what is meant by moksha.

    As another expert in hatha yoga describes: ‘it all boils down to the fact that assuming a series of equilibrating hatha yoga postures prepares the nervous system to apprehend the unity underlying reality.

    Without having to stretch one’s intellect, the postures promote this recognition which dissolves the stress of being inextricably limited to the body. This deeply relaxing unitive awareness is akin to the obliteration of the ego. With hatha yoga done right, we can find ourselves established in an interior neutrality which is the meeting place, the detached witness, of all the concepts made of pairs of opposites.

    So, whatever the claimed distinctions between ancient Buddhism and current mindfulness practice, the goal remains insight into the immediate as a way of ‘liberating’ us from the sense of being limited by the immediate and into feelings of transcendence: an expanded feeling of being universal and infinite.

    We might well be created in the image of God, but, in contrast to mindfulness, the Christian contemplation allows the ‘otherness’ of the Uncreated One (by whom all universes, elements and life came to being from sheer nothingness) to shine on us the light of loving nearness through His incarnate condescension in Christ.

    In his vision of God’s majesty, Isaiah is aware of the tragic demise of Uzziah, whose reign began so auspiciously, but whose presumption precipitated his demise. He is also as aware of God’s transcendent majesty and holiness as he is of his human frailty and sinfulness: ‘”Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”‘

    So, while mindfulness will no doubt increase in popularity and be endorsed by the NHS (who will allow Tai-Chi, but suspend an employees for offering prayer), I cannot see how it can ever be compatible with the Christian faith.

  8. Veronica Zundel October 8, 2016 at 4:22 pm #

    Thank you for this positive article, Ian. I’m disturbed by the amount of fear displayed by other commenters and by Christian knee-jerk rejection of mindfulness. Surely ‘He that is in us is stronger than him who is in the world’? I always find it strange that Christians have been wary of other types of meditation because they involve ’emptying your mind’ and that could let in demons. How are they able to go to sleep each night, if emptying your mind is so dangerous! (and that’s absolutely not what the parable of the empty house and the seven demons is about!).

    I’d like to offer another biblical verse that I think supports mindfulness: Jesus’ saying that ‘If your eye is single, your whole body will be full of light’. Sure, this could be about focusing on God, but it could also be about giving attention to God’s creation, including your own sensations – and it connects interestingly with Mary of Bethany’s ‘one thing needful’. Incidentally, I’m not so sure about Martha representing action and Mary representing comtemplation, although this is a traditional approach. We need also to recognize that Mary was sitting in the position of a rabbi’s student, and that Jesus is affirming education, not least theological education, for women.

    • David Shepherd October 8, 2016 at 10:07 pm #

      Hi Veronica,

      You’ve distilled the criticisms levelled here at mindfulness into nothing more than a superstitious fear of emptying one’s mind. It’s certainly hard to miss the tone of patronising derision when you ask: ‘How are they able to go to sleep each night, if emptying the mind is so dangerous’

      Yet, I’d challenge you to identify a single adverse comment which highlights ’emptying the mind’ as the principal issue with mindfulness. So, please address what we’ve actually written.

      While you’re quite definite in knowing what the parable of the empty house doesn’t mean, you simply speculate that Jesus saying that: ‘if your eye is single, your whole body will be full of light’…could also be about giving attention to God’s creation, including your own sensations’

      Well, let’s see. The quoted verse is preceded by comparing the prioritising transient worldly things with the virtue of storing up treasure in heaven. Christ follows this by insisting on the impossibility of dividing our loyalties between God and worldly things.

      Clearly, ‘if your eye is single’ juxtaposed on both sides with self-deceiving worldliness that is bound to obscure and prevent us from embracing treasure in heaven: the pearl of great price’.

      It had nothing to do with the self-focused attention which characterises mindfulness.

  9. Ian W October 9, 2016 at 9:14 pm #

    I’m not sure there’s anything wrong wih a relatively mature Christian practising mindfulness. Practised with a desire for to seek the presence of God in Jesus Christ it can be a helpful form of meditation. However secular forms *are* derived from Buddhism and John Kabat-Zinn is a Buddhist, or as he prefers to style himself, a “Dhamma practitioner.”

    I am genuinely pleased for those who find it helpful, whether Christian or otherwise, but the church can only practise it insofar as it leads us towards the same mind as Jesus Christ (Phil 2). Likewise if practised on church premises it should be led by a Christian practitioner with a transparent focus on Christ.

  10. Marcus s October 10, 2016 at 7:09 am #

    Mindfulness is being more fully aware of your own experience in the present moment in a non judgemental way. Its nothing more and nothing less.
    It has been shown, in scientific studies, to have benefit both for those who have chronic pain and those suffering mental health problems.
    If one dismisses this on the basis that its not found in the Christian tradition or in the bible one might as well dismiss any western medicine.

    • David Shepherd October 10, 2016 at 9:15 pm #

      Marcus,

      Given Jon Kabatt-Zinn’s own description, your reductive definition (it’s nothing more and nothing less) is just wilfully naive.

      The issue taken by commenters here with mindfulness is not that it isn’t found in Christian tradition.

      Let’s just not fool ourselves that ‘ ‘the mindfulness which is found in the mainstream and clinical contexts of today is not part of any religious or spiritual tradition’, nor that it’s somehow consonant with the tradition of Christian mystics or contemplative prayer.

      It isn’t.

  11. William Hensel December 7, 2016 at 9:02 pm #

    In a pretty real sense, only sentient creatures may be ‘Christian’ – mindfulness , a state of being, is neither a creature nor in itself sentient. The materials offered also discuss possible links between mindfulness and prayer; I’d offer the addition or alternative, that as I have understood (and perhaps experienced) mindfulness, it seems to me more like the complement to prayer that Jesus mentions: ‘Keep on watching; keep on praying’. To me, these two are similar to systole and diastole, or inhale/exhale–neither alone can be sustained long; together, they describe a wonderful dynamic of creaturehood. However, mindfulness’ seems to me more like watching than like praying. In any case, awareness involves some sense of duality (subject/object or agent/patient), but this duality seems unlike mindfulness–or one of the many barriers one may encounter en route to mindfulness. What do you…think? Feel? Sense? Believe?

  12. Roger H December 11, 2016 at 8:56 pm #

    I am surprised that no one has mentioned Christ’s own endorsement of mindfulness … the birds of the air … the lilies of the field … and the wise counsel “lead us not into temptation” none of which requires scholarly hair-splitting. Unless you become as a child you shall in no wise enter where?

Leave a Reply