Mindfulness Meditation & Christianity

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One of the largest trending health topics of 2016 revolves around meditation. This ancient practice continues to quickly gain acceptance especially among 20’s and 30’s as our generation moves forward in holistic health.

Mindfulness meditation currently ranks as one of the most popular types of meditation. A few principles highlighted in this meditation include increasing awareness of internal and external experience, nonjudgmental observation and acceptance of these experiences and cultivation of compassion towards self (Garzon).

All of these principles sound pretty healthy, right? Not only that but another upside to meditation in our overactive society is it gives women a chance to slow down, breathe, and clear the majority of thoughts out of their mind. We are so busy –it’s no wonder 20 minutes of stillness sounds so appealing.

What often isn’t initially apparent about mindfulness meditation is its Buddhist origin and practice. Because of this, it’s good to be aware that mindfulness meditation offers not just an exercise, but an outlook on life. An outlook that focuses on self and ultimately, promotes detachment from reality. Buddhism teaches that personality, reason, moral feelings, and desires are illusions that need to be overcome so that self becomes aware of its divine nature in order to escape the cycle of rebirth (Montenegro).

Buddhism opposes biblical Christianity. The personal God of the Bible thinks, feels, and wills. He creates our individual personalities for good (Genesis 1:27, 31). Personality and reason aren’t meant to be overcome, but renewed, developed, and celebrated (Romans 12:2). The Bible teaches we are created as spiritual beings with physical bodies to be enjoyed (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Christianity does not promote detaching from this present world in order to become aware of one’s own divine nature. Instead, God created us in His image, designing us to be in a relationship with him for all eternity (1 Corinthians 1:9).

During meditation classes, direct link to Buddhism may not always be taught. Even so, the primary emphasis on self, distinguishes mindfulness meditation from biblical Christianity. Instead of self being primary, biblical Christianity focuses on God and how our relationship with Him impacts self and the world.

Three things I am not saying. First, I am not saying it’s wrong to take care of ourselves. We need to realize how we feel, what we think, and what our bodies say. We can honor God by taking care of self. Secondly, I am not saying that being mindful isn’t godly. Being mindful by simply slowing down and thinking of our circumstances, spirituality, people, and work displays wisdom. Third, I am not saying all meditation opposes biblical Christianity. The Bible actually encourages certain meditation.

In light of this, let’s “mindfully” begin the task of in-depth comparison and conversation between Buddhist forms of mediation and biblical Christianity. Let’s think critically about why we do what we do, and why we think what we think. Ask questions. Ask God for discernment as we strive toward holistic health.

Want to read more: http://www.christianpsych.org/wp_scp/mindfulness-and-christian-devotional-meditation/

Garzon, Fernado. “Mindfulness and Christian Devotional Meditation.” Society for Christian Psychology. n.d. Web. 6 April 2016.

Montenegro, Marcia. “Mindfulness: No-Mind Over Matter.” Christian Answers for the New Age. November 2010. Web. 6 April 2016.

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