mindfulness via Compfight
The Newly Mindful Anderson Cooper
I missed it, but somebody told me I needed to check out the 60 Minutes story: The Newly Mindful Anderson Cooper. It got me to thinking, I haven’t heard a clear Christian response to mindfulness, so I decided to write one. Whether it’s clear or not is up to you to decide, but I hope this deeply helps you.
Mindfulness: “It’s not another thing you have to add to your list of things to do. It’s just being. And you know, we’re not used to just kind of being.” ~Anderson Cooper
OK, Here’s the scoop:
You can’t enter into the presence of God without first becoming mindful or present. You will remain outside with your religious forms and structures.
Why is this, you may ask.
As ‘All roads lead to Rome,” so we must enter our spirit if we’re to experience God in more than mere shadows and forms. God is spirit.
So What Does Mindfulness Do?
Mindfulness awakens or gives precedence to our spirit. It’s the simplest and the most profound discipline I know of. It’s as simple as breathing. There are other avenues and practices that awaken us to who we really are, our essence, and I’ll mention a few here, if I have time.
I’ve probably messed with your theology, so let me straighten things out a bit.
Let’s Clear It Up A Bit
Jesus, God incarnate, was the most present person who ever lived. He never checked out into his past or into his future. He was always awake and always aware in his spirit, fully present with everyone he was with. Even on the Cross as he talked to his mother Mary and to John. Even as he died, crying out: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” And having said this he breathed his last. Jesus never checked out. Even at the end, Jesus released his own spirit. His and your spirit is what I want you to become aware of here. We tend to lump everything into the Holy Spirit as Christians, while we tend to dwell in our souls.
Rewired by Technology
We’re all being trained and rewired by our smartphones, and our devices to be somewhere else. Just check people out at the dinner table. We’re living virtual lives, and we’re becoming more and more distracted, split, and ADD bit by bit, every day by day.
Distracted By Life
Besides this, it’s normal for us to sift through our past and prepare for our future. But it causes us to lose the capacity to be present for more than a few brief seconds out of every minute. Shoved deeper into our soul’s life, our spirituality, our center and our calm to meet our future wanes. So we use our analytical soul to defend us. Dysfunctionally, I might add.
Mindfulness is about taking our life back.
Mindfulness is a simple breathing exercise where we move from our body (ie our breath, breathing) into our spirit. In both the Greek and the Hebrew of Scripture, our breath, and our spirit are two sides of the same coin, our being. We are all human Beings after all.
What mindfulness does is it wakes up our spirit or better yet, it wakes us up and makes us aware in our spirit. We experience our spirit, our essence, who we really are.
Where does that leave us Believers?
Where we go from this point is totally up to us. For the Believer, our next step is to open up to God’s Spirit, as with prayer, meditation, and contemplation. This is here where the Artist creates with their creator. It is here that the writer effortlessly writes with their wisdom voice.
Soul or Spirit: Which is Preeminent In Your Life?
It’s like this: Unless we first enter our spirit, our spiritual life remains the work of our soul, our ego, our fallen self. We grind and push and boast of our groups spirituality and work. It becomes a ‘us vs them’ economy of lack, our truth vs their truth. Lack and separation are the work of our soul, while abundance and unity are the work of our spirit. Subtle and Covert spiritual pride creep into the best of our soul’s fruit. It’s brokenness pretending to be whole.
Spirituality Works Inside Out
You’ve heard it, but you might not realize what it means in relationship to your spirit. This is spiritual work, not our souls striving. The fruit (the outworking of God’s character) The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Mindfulness As A Spiritual Practice
So I hope you can see how mindfulness can be a helpful tool to shape us (as all disciplines do) into being a spirit-led person. Being spirit-centered rather than soul-centered helps position us to hear from God, rather than God having to hit us over the head, just to get our attention. Just think of it, no more screaming preachers trying to wake you up. You can actually learn to hear from God for yourself. In discerning remember: Fear drives us, while Love draws us and God is love.
Examples as Promised
OK, so here’s twenty-four examples of our spirit waking up to help prime the pump. The preacher who preaches themselves into new revelation. Praying the Rosery, speaking in tongues, Lectio Divia, the old woman who’s rocking saying, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” The Jesus Prayer, a breath prayer, the preaching cadence of an old Southern preacher, the Eucharist, shouting praises, praying the Daily Office, singing that worship chorus over and over and over again, Icons, fasting, corporate worship, devotions, The Lord’s Prayer, A Crucifix, a Proverb, prayer, prayer beads, reflection, the Beachcomber who’s bathed in the morning sunlight, the solitude of being captured by the stillness at night, and the list goes on. I’ll bet you’ve probably thought of a few too.
Every spiritual practice has the ability to wake us within our spirit into an awakened awareness. ~ Click to Tweet
Some practices work better than others, according to our predisposition, our training, and our season of life.
I can remember walking around in the Brownsville Revival. There was a hushed holy silence and it was like walking around in a cloud. It felt timeless and unearthly. We would sit for hours soaking in the presence of God. So I revisit this state (not Brownsville 🙂 when I walk with God in the cool of the day.
What wakes you up?
Our Spirit Is The Content
My point here is that mindfulness is a content free spiritual practice, like driving a car or texting on your phone, it’s the spirit we bring to it that determines the direction we go in. With mindfulness, we gently wake up in our spirit, but let me say it again, it’s us who determine the direction we go in.
I hope you found this helpful.