Mindfulness revisited


Photo courtesy of Pamela Logan

Photo courtesy of Pamela Logan

Last night I watched an episode of 60 Minutes with my friends (remember I sold my TV) as we ate pizza and (responsibly) drank adult beverages.  One of the show’s segments was on the concept of mindfulness.  The reporter (Anderson Cooper) interviewed a professor (Jon Kabat-Zinn) who practices meditation and promotes mindfulness.

The basic premise of the segment was that as technology becomes so ubiquitous it now prevents people from living authentically and in the moment.  Mobile devices, social media, text and email have conditioned us to be so reactive and bounce back and forth between streams of information without actually living in the present moment and connecting with our thoughts, senses, and companions.

What struck me as significant was the reporter’s acknowledgement that the concepts of mindfulness were beneficial to him, yet he was still somewhat reluctant to fully advocate them.

I have written about mindfulness previously, and as a reminder, mindfulness is simply the practice of being highly aware and engaged with the present moment.

Below (in blue) are my notes from my journal entry this morning, as I reflected the concept of mindfulness as it impacts my life.

How does mindfulness fit into this equation?  It is important.  It is a perspective or thought framework.  I dwell in the present.  The past, yesterday, last month, last year, and previous decades are all gone.  

There is NOTHING I can do to change the past, so I have no business there.  It is over.  My past is covered under the blood of Jesus. 

The future is still available to me, but it unripe fruit.  I shall not and cannot pluck it.  The future is not ready.  I can cultivate the garden of my future, but I cannot control it.  It is still inaccessible. 

Rather, I can focus my attention and energy on the present moment.  Here is where I dwell.  Here is where the history of 14.7 billion years (if one believes the most recent hypothesis on the age of the universe) have uniquely situated me.  All of my gifts, talents, and experiences are available to me RIGHT NOW

This moment is where I make a difference.  This is why understanding one’s gifts, talents, and values is important.  It allows you to make the best choices in the present moment – to focus on and act in that which matters the most (and avoid the noise of others who don’t matter that much).  In doing so, you live the best life.  One that you were uniquely created for. 

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ.  Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)

This is glory.  Doing and being what one is uniquely created to do.  Whether it is raising children, going to school, leading a major corporation, providing financial advice, or scrubbing floors.  God created us to glorify Him.  We can only do so in the present moment.  This is why being present is so important. 

Quite simply, mindfulness is taking the time and focus to be in the moment.

There are ways to develop good habits that promote a more mindful lifestyle.  These include concentrated breathing, prayer, meditation, walking, turning off electronics, and/or eliminating distractions.

Mindfulness is not a destination, but rather a path.  It is a path of being content with the present.  It is the path of giving all our energy to the present, especially the people who dwell closely with us: our spouse, our children, our friends.  It is a choice we make on how we will live our lives – living in the past, living in the future, or enjoying the present.

It does matter how we live.  Make it a priority to live for now.

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.  Matthew 6:34 (ESV)

How about you?  What can you do today to slow down, breathe deeply, and be more mindful?

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About John Forrest