Mindfulness

by Tammy on October 26, 2017

Yesterday I listened to a Facebook live between Chef AJ and a woman who recently wrote a book called The Mindful Vegan. Between that interview and a lot of talk about yoga and meditation, I have become more and more curious about how to meditate in a way that is safe for a Christian. I know that yoga, even when it is “christianized” is not a safe practice for Christians, and emptying our minds, as in contemplative prayer, is downright dangerous, as God never commands us to do that but to rather, “Take every thought captive.” So I decided to begin researching safe Christian meditation.

I ran across the following article and although I’ve only read through it once, it seems to address the concerns of mindfulness and give alternatives. I am going to read her next articles and in my next blog post, I will (try to remember to) address this issues further. This article was taken from A Renewed Life.

Is Mindfulness Safe for Christians?

After reading my last two posts on mindfulness and controlling worry (see here and here), you may be wondering, “Is mindfulness safe for Christians?” If it is, how can it be connected to becoming more Christ-like?

Some aspects of mindfulness have their roots in Buddhism. But not all of them.

How Mindfulness is Connected to Buddhism

Mindfulness can be taught in such a way as to encourage emptying of the mind in order to open oneself to greater truth and awareness. This greater truth and awareness is said to come from within.

This is dangerous. The Bible makes it clear that our thoughts are not God’s thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). Our minds can be blinded by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4). And, if we reject God’s ways, he can give us over to a depraved mind (Romans 1:28).

Certainly, we do not want to trust our own minds to reveal truth to us.

Also, opening yourself up to a vague “greater truth,” is dangerous. Real truth is God’s reality. God has chosen to reveal this to us through his word, the Bible.

Opening yourself up to anything beyond this is inviting spiritual influence not from God. This is also known as demonic influence.

This also applies to “emptying yourself.” We don’t want to create a void through which demons may enter. Instead, we want to be filled — filled with the Spirit of Christ.

Also of concern with this Buddhist form of mindfulness is the intent of reaching a greater spiritual plateau. This also is opening yourself up to spirits and “truth” apart from God.

It is also elevating yourself. As followers of Christ, we are to bring glory to Him, not ourselves. Recognizing our own sinfulness and frailty, our strength is to come from him. Our way of thinking is to come from him. Our understanding is to come from him.
Is Mindfulness Safe for Christians?

There are some ways in which we can use mindfulness safely and effectively.

For instance, the Bible calls us to take every thought captive. When we worry, our thoughts run rampant like wild horses. Mindfulness enables us to lasso them by first being attentive to them. “Hmmm, there is a thought,” we may say.

This is a non-judgmental way of disentangling ourselves from our thoughts.

But, you may ask, “Is this condoning sin? If I have a murderous thought toward my boss, shouldn’t I confess this?”

It is important to realize that just because a thought has come into your mind does not mean you have sinned.

For instance, while worshiping in church, a lustful thought may enter your mind. What will you do with this thought?

Using our horse analogy, jumping onto that horse and taking off on it would be sinful. With mindfulness, you could recognize it for what it is then let it go. “Ah, there is a lustful thought.” Then you would put your mind back to an uplifting thought of the Lord.

How to Use Mindfulness with Scripture

When combined with scripture, mindfulness can be a powerful tool for renewing your mind.

If you are anxious about getting everything done in your upcoming day, you would first be non-judgmentally attentive to your racing thoughts. Then you can purposefully focus your mind on the truth of scripture.

“And my God will meet all [my] needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

“Do not be anxious about anything [Tawnya], but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Then you can purposefully ask God to provide for your day. You can confess to him your anxiety then be specific about your concerns. You will also want to praise him for his power and trustworthiness. Thank him that you can toss your anxiety onto him and be carefree because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

As you repeatedly do this you will recognize God’s hand in your life. Your faith will be strengthened. And your mind will gravitate more easily toward God’s truth.

The Holy Spirit, who is within you as a disciple of Christ, will empower this to bring change within you.

Physiologically, the neurons in your brain will form new “paths” for firing. Instead of going on the path toward fear, they will go on the path toward peace and confidence.

Conclusion

Mindfulness, when used to bring awareness to our thoughts and to focus our minds, can be powerful and effective. Care needs to be given, however, to not use it in the Buddhist ways mentioned above. Much that is on the internet actually has its roots in Buddhism and is not appropriate for Christians.

In my next post I will give you more examples of how mindfulness can be used to help in your spiritual growth.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Susan November 2, 2017 at 1:41 am

Interesting read Tammy. My mind wanders at times and not surprised since I have some ADD traits. I just posted at my blog . Hope you had a nice time in Alabama!

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