I remember sitting outside a French cafe in Paris just before my last sabbatical 7 years ago. The children who were young were just playing in the square in front of us. I couldn’t enjoy the capuccino, the sunshine or their free play, I was plagued with irrational anxious fears that someone was going to snatch them. At that moment I didn’t know how to handle those anxious fears. I knew that I longed for an interior freedom. I found help within Christian contemplative mindfulness practice as well as modern psychological therapy.
If you are depressed, anxious, suffering from stress or many other modern ailments then mindfulness is being used within psychological treatments of these afflictive thoughts. There are mindfulness-based treatments like mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). There are other therapies which are mindfulness-incorporating like dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
Mindfulnes as a theory and in terms of mindful aware practices (MAPS) is growing exponentially within psychology and Western culture. It is both a universal human capacity and can be reached in many different ways. The primary influence within Western psychology has been Buddhist theory and practice in this area.
I am interested in examining it from all angles as well as showing that Christian contemplative practices also lead to a state of mindfulness. I know from my own experience that it works. The key question, however, that anyone needs to ask, is ‘how do I discern what help to access in the confusing market-place of help?’