I was racing to be on time for an interview about the merging interests of physicians and chaplains, when I was sidetracked by several signs reading: “Mindful Conference this way.” These signs caught my attention because I wondered if the spiritual mindfulness that I practiced was part of the conference’s discussion.
That was a couple of years ago, and now 2014 is the year of Mindful Living. Mindfulness is rocketing in public awareness as a way to gain a sense of balance in our increasingly over-stimulated society. Technological advances and mass communication have usurped time for restorative, spiritual focus. The rise of mindfulness’ popularity reflects our collective desire to find balance amid these non-stop distractions. How? By focusing on the moment at hand, a primary methodology in mindfulness practices to find the balance.
Many practice mindfulness by being more aware of the physical in the present – focusing on breath, taking each step and being aware of the impact of the foot on the pavement, consciously noticing the air that is brushing by the skin. But what if there was a way of taking mindfulness to another level, a spiritual perspective that allows for clarity of thought – not through physical awareness – and brings instead an awareness of the unbroken relation each of us has with the Divine? This awareness can be felt as a pinpoint of light, a profound peace, an enfolding love, a comforting message that is from God.
Some have found that this kind of awareness, which is centered on the spiritual rather than the physical, is a more empowering and lasting mindfulness. Spiritual mindfulness has helped me to quiet thought and obtain a sense of balance – without withdrawing from present activity. Once I was to give a major talk to a statewide audience. I arrived late when throbbing head pain threatened my ability to give the talk. I realized this was precipitated by tension, and I turned to the Divine for peace. Quickly the pain left and I delivered the talk without difficulty.
In a world where the distractions and stress are 24/7, it is especially heartening that many are finding a sense of balance in their lives through mindfulness practices. The lasting result of finding spiritual balance is possible today. It was also true of Jesus who periodically needed to remove himself from daily distractions in order to confidently go forward in his calling with this sense of balance. Mary Baker Eddy, the author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, investigated the kind of powerful mindfulness that would nurture one’s spiritual self: “Become conscious for a single moment that [God] and intelligence are purely spiritual…and the body will then utter no complaints.”
Mindfulness of any kind brings health benefits, but taking mindfulness to the next level by incorporating a spiritual component allows for a richer life experience full of confidence, love, compassion, patience, and peace.
Article first published in Blogcritics.