I am participating in the 31-Day Mindfulness Summit that started October 1. The ironic thing is that I multi-task as I listen. Yeah….I know. Sad, isn’t it? The world can be filled with the best of intentions that never come to fruition.
To be honest, so far the talks have not inspired me one iota. I am hoping that they will as time goes on or that I will stop and listen better than I currently am. They are good just not as helpful as I was hoping for. When I went on retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) a few summers ago, I was impressed by what mindfulness could offer people. Christians can meditate and those of us who embrace Ignatian spirituality may be drawn more to contemplation than meditation. This is true for me. I find more benefits from that type of prayer but I think what is key with meditation, or prayer of any sort, is the slowing down and listening. Other than when we sleep, most people do not stop during the day. Our minds can alternate between buzzing or numbing. A great deal of goodness can spring out of taking a few minutes every single day to stop and just breathe. Whether you are religious or not, this is a a good practice.
Studies show many benefits to mindfulness. Mindfulness returns you to the present moment and not the regret of the past or fear of the future. Jesus reminds us not to worry about tomorrow so the thought is not just a Buddhist construct. Mindfulness can make us less judgmental and therefore kinder people. Our relationships may be enhanced because of this. The health implications are positive, with longer and healthier lives being a result. Even as we look to Thay who has marveled his followers by his slow recovery from his illness this past year, we can see that breathing mindfully does heal us on deep levels. Others may not have been able to have made such good progress. We may call it differently in the Christian world, but I believe that mindfulness matters.
How does stopping and simply breathing change you?
In a world where we multi-task, how might the practice of living in the moment be a gift?
Jesus, you ask us not to worry about tomorrow
but so often our minds race ahead to what is coming
that we forget that you and God already have it under control.
Teach me to stop, breathe, and focus on you
so that I might let go and live fully aware and alive.
Jesus, I breathe you in
and breathe out all anxiety.
May your peace fill me completely.