In an age that’s tangled in fruitless taunts and jibes at other religions, perhaps we should all stop splitting hairs with our insignificant differences and adopt mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a mind-body approach to well-being that can help you change the way you think about experiences and reduce stress and anxiety. It is a spiritual practice that calls you to be continually present with the experience; in other words be in the moment, without feeling the need to judge what’s happening or to make it other than what it is.
Although commonly attributed to Buddhism [the seventh aspect of the eightfold Buddhist awakening], the practice is an integral spiritual practice of all religions, as the very basis of all creeds pivots on it. Before mainstream institutions like prisons, schools, hospitals and military bases adopted mindfulness; it was a practice already known within spiritual circles.
Undoubtedly words like ‘mindfulness’ and ‘meditation’ are words that make us think of hippies and esoteric people, but mindfulness can be as simple and sitting down and taking a few deep breaths before that all-important interview, for example. For parents, it could be being fully aware in the moment spent with your child.
To cultivate this present moment awareness, we pay attention on purpose, with an attitude of kindness to ourselves and others.
Mindfulness does have religious origins, as almost every spiritual tradition has practices for contemplation and silence, and direct awareness of experience. Catholics’ centering prayer, Buddhists’ meditation, the Jewish Shabbat or Islam’s Sufi mysticism, are all examples of spiritual paths that hone this practice.
However, this is a human practice of compassionate and intentional awareness; it requires no dogmatic or spiritual beliefs.