Christians and Mindfulness Meditation: Is It a Contradiction to Faith?
Mindfulness meditation is an age-old practice during which people focus on their inner selves so they can become more aware of thoughts. Instead of emptying the mind, this type of meditation attempts to clear the mind of clutter so practitioners can find clarity, peace and calm. Mindfulness meditation has Buddhist roots, but Christians can use it to become closer to God.
Learn the Non-Buddhist Way
Many people who teach meditation take a nonreligious stance. This means you can learn to meditate without using traditional words that rely on Buddhist sayings. The point of mindfulness meditation is to simply become aware, and this concept has no religious backing at all.
The beauty of meditation is that once you learn the basics, you can focus your inner thoughts using whatever method you want. Use a Bible verse to clear your mind. It can be something simple, such as the name of Jesus, one of the Ten Commandments or a reading from Psalms.
Turn Avoidance Into Acceptance
Many people avoid mindfulness meditation because they feel it is against Christian beliefs. However, proponents argue that the practice can help Christians get closer to God and achieve a sense of peace. A keen sense of awareness and focus leaves you open to listening to yourself and your thoughts, and contemplating how these thoughts pertain to your life.
Some Christians avoid meditation because of a fear of evil spirits. Mindfulness meditation does not empty the mind or allow evil thoughts to invade your consciousness. Instead, it clears your mind of unwanted clutter simply by focusing on one aspect of your thoughts. This focus can lead you to notice a sound, memory, feeling or physical sensation.
When you practice mindful meditation in church, you clear your mind of what you think about as you wonder what to do after the service, who you want to see, whether you can sing the right note and other extraneous thoughts. Focus on God’s message for you. Your senses become more open as you accept the word of God into your mind and heart.
Listen to the Goodness
In a biological sense, meditation reduces stress. Stress reduction, in turn, makes you healthier, happier and more open to positive change. In one study, people who participated in a three-day mindfulness meditation program showed brain improvement in areas responsible for stress reduction, improved focus and calmness.
Reducing stress leaves you open to emotional healing based on God’s principles. Once you start healing yourself, you can start living a life closer to God’s message and learn to love God with all of your heart.
Try Christian Devotional Meditation
Think of mindfulness meditation as Christian devotional meditation. Instead of trying to find yourself within your thoughts, attempt to find God. This is where scripture and prayers come into play. Christ teaches believers to surrender and trust in God’s grace. That’s where Christian devotional meditation differs from traditional practice. Rather than becoming aware of yourself as you meditate, leave your mind open to your relationship to God.
Christ himself taught his followers not to judge others. In addition to listening to God as he works on your heart, meditation teaches you not to judge yourself. This openness happens as you accept your thoughts, feelings and attitudes that you discover during your keen sense of awareness. Once you accept yourself, you can accept others.
Start With Simple Techniques
One way to embrace Christian devotional meditation is to include a prayer right from the start. Meditation usually begins by focusing on your breath. While taking deep, full breaths, think about a prayer or Bible verse. Free your mind to accept the everlasting love of God.Start your devotional meditation with Psalm 46:10. Be still and know that I am God. Let go of your concerns! Then you will know that I am God. Cease striving and know that I am God.