#mindfulness is not minefulness – a minefield…

Mindfulness is not minefulness – a minefield as some Christians think, any more than religion is to blame for all the ills in the world. Those who are suspicious of it are to be welcomed though, for the difficult questions they might want to ask. Nothing should be unquestioned, accepted automatically. In psychology, we are always saying, do no harm.

Mindfulness is not a South Sea Bubble, soon to collapse and to be found empty of meaning, it is here to stay and it has real substance to it.

Mindfulness is not a bringer of world peace, and it is not the silver bullet to solve all the ills of our world and minds. But mindfulness is a universal human capacity, for we have a mindful brain. Although we often fail to remember to access that capacity for awareness and attention.

Mindfulness is a rapidly changing field. It needs to be examined with the rigour of evidence-based research, although those who work in that way do not have exclusive access to truth. Ordinary people have mindfulness and observations to make that could make all the difference. Theology will have something important to say as well. All the mindfulness-based and mindfulness-incorporating therapies coming out of mindfulness are different and need to be individually assessed and critiqued. They cannot be lumped together

Let’s not let the professionals take complete ownership of mindfulness, it should not be taken out of the hands of reality-focused poets, carpenters, fishermen and women, artists, contemplatives and mystics. It should help us see through consumerism and narcissism not be used as a tool of these things.

The ancient wisdom of religions has been dismissed by many in the West. It is now being rediscovered. What other hidden gems are there in the ancient paths? For Christians, mindfulness of God is central, along with reality-focused self-awareness.

It has been secularised, it is being rediscovered in Christian contemplation, Buddhists are asking how can they bring their wisdom to modern culture in a way that is different to secular psychology. Cognitive psychology and neuroscience have been looking at consciousness, awareness and attention before they ever heard of mindfulness.

If mindfulness (to rephase Goethe) is the liquid architecture of our mind, there is much more yet to be said. Is there a question not yet asked of it, and who will ask the question?

If mindfulnes is one of the central human capacities because we have mindful brains, how else can it be used? What other mindful awareness practices can be developed that help us cultivate mindfulness?

I for one, want to encourage Christians to be part of the dialogue in an intelligent, respectful and discerning way. One of the problems is that many comments about mindfulness are uninformed. Here is a good website which pulls together all the evidence-based research that outlines the benefits of mindfulness.


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