Prompted by our Minister, the Church has started using Mindfulness as an aid to worship. Many services contain a short period of meditation. Here is some more information about the subject.
Meditation: The 1st Psalm begins with “Blessed is the one … who meditates … He is like a tree planted by streams of water”. Meditation is the “gym” which helps us to grow muscles in mindful awareness. The aim is to engage in healing and renewal, by tapping into resources which are widely accepted by the secular community. We hope to break down barriers between the secular world and the church community, and to reduce the negative mythology around meditation. Two qualities of meditation are breathing and silence. If you can breathe you can meditate, and although silence is counter intuitive because we innately desire activity, if we recognise that God created out of silence, we begin to discover its creative energy.
Mindfulness emerged as a concept in the 1970s when Jon Kabat – Zinn (Links) developed meditation for those suffering from pain. It was so successful in pain reduction that he developed an 8-week programme. He discovered that it was also successful in stress reduction, increasing wellbeing and calmness. A long Christian heritage in meditation has been given scientific affirmation by his work. We tend to develop dark narratives of worry about the past or the future. Heightened awareness of sensory signals, which the bible refers to extensively, aids meditation, and assists us in developing a focus on the present moment.
Christian Mindfulness is an encouragement to “Being before Doing”. The Mary and Martha story in Luke 10:38-42 asks the question “Are we a human being or a human doing, Mary the “contemplative”, or Martha the “activist”? Christian mindfulness encourages us to achieve the right balance between being and doing.