Sometimes we Christians get all “righteous” about some issues. Like mindfulness. Some think it’s some sort of “voodoo” or far eastern mysticism.
It’s neither. It merely means “being in the moment”. Enjoying what we are doing without thinking about what else we have to do. Enjoying what we’re doing without judging it. Enjoying what we are doing to the point we lose all track of time. Another way it has been described is “being in the zone.”
When we are truly in the moment we are usually happy. I like what Benjamin Franklin said:
The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.
Those are great words and so true. So for the next few days I’m going to post about mindfulness. If you read yesterday’s post, you know that I had a rough day. When I was baking I worked hard at enjoying the process and not get caught up in thinking about what else I had to do. That’s mindfulness.
If you are depressed, you live in the past. If you are anxious, you live in the future… If you are happy*… You live in the present.” -original quote by Lao Tzu with *peace
The many ways to practice mindfulness
We can practice mindfulness in the simplest of ways:
Enjoying that first sip of coffee in the morning. Really enjoying the taste.
Taking a bath and feeling the water caress our bodies and how we feel the tension leave our bodies.
Sitting in the sunshine and letting ourselves feel warm all over, like a hug from the sun.
The smell of basil on your fingers.
We can even practice mindfulness when we perform the daily tasks of living, like combing our hair, folding clothes, making the bed. It means we see these necessary functions as having value in themselves. When we do this we keep the mundane from being insignificant.
Mindfulness also means we don’t dwell on the past. Learn from it? Yes. Let the principles you learned guide you in the future? Yes. But live in the past? No.
That doesn’t mean we don’t set goals or make plans for the future. It’s OK to have a wish list. But while you’re planning, live in the moment.
A surprising benefit of mindfulness
Mindfulness keeps us from getting distracted. When we are in the moment, like when we’re driving, we are not distracted by our thoughts. We hear a lot about “distracted” drivers and almost always it refers to cell phone use, texting or talking. And as bad as those are, it’s equally bad to let our thoughts wander while we’re driving and not being in the moment enough to be paying attention to our driving and the driving of others.
When I’m walking outside, if I’m not paying attention to the pavement, I might very well fall. But if I’m walking and “thinking” about my walking I will probably be more careful.
Questions to start the process
Nowhere is mindfulness more important than in evaluating our own actions, beliefs, habits, etc. I love what Mohammed said:
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” –M. Gandhi
(I don’t have a problem with wisdom from various sources as I believe that real truth always emanates from God anyway.) But mindfulness will be difficult if we don’t know who we are. We should ask:
“Is this me?
“Am I living an authentic life?”
“Do my words reflect my beliefs?’
“Do my actions reflect my beliefs?”
If you are struggling with finding your own peace, try something today. Try to lose yourself in some activity today whether it’s on your job, at home, or wherever you find yourself. If you can truly experience mindfulness even once, you will know what I’m talking about.
I often find it during prayer and Bible reading. But I also find it when I’m creating, whether it’s a piece of art, a meal, a post, etc. But the most important thing to remember is that it is OK to lose yourself like this.
God bless and have a good day.