Buddhism

Mindfulness

serene lake with pierVisiting in Japan in October 2016, on my one night in a hotel room, I suddenly realized I’d not watched any Japanese TV. It was fun to land on a kabuki theater performance and also a documentary about antique Noritake dishes. Then an announcer introduced the next hour’s topic: “mind-oh-foo-roo-nessu.” That’s mindfulness. I knew this is all the rage in the U.S. recently, but I was surprised to hear the Japanese saying it in English. (That indicates it’s trendy.) The show accurately gave the roots of this practice as Eastern religious meditation.

Mindfulness as marketed here (in psychology and corporate and Christian circles) is supposed to be a stress reliever, because you simply BE in whatever moment you’re in—pushing aside thoughts of any other concerns and also not forming any judgment about what’s happening to you in the moment. As one authority puts it, “paying attention with acceptance.”

Yes, we have too much on our minds these days. So it’s good when walking through the woods, for example, to just enjoy the walking and not overthink about other stuff. One thing at a time, and all that. But we probably shouldn’t call that “mindfulness”—since the mindfulness that’s all the rage, being based on atheistic Eastern religion, is not what Christians would actually intend by that term. See, part of the reason (per mindfulness in Eastern thought) that you should be able to have “acceptance” about whatever is happening in your life is because this life isn’t quite real anyway; it’s just an illusion. Another reason is because the karma cycle is merely being played out, and there’s kinda nothing you can do about things.

I would suggest that if we’re stressed out and need to set our minds “on things above” in order to have the “peace of Christ” (Colossians 3:1-17), let’s just do that. And let’s credit the Lord and advertise HIS ways.

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