Mindfulness is the heart of Christ Enlight – in fact, it is the heart of any authentic spirituality. What is mindfulness? It is a term that seems to be springing up everywhere lately. At its core, mindfulness is being present. It is the acknowledgement that the present moment is the only moment we have.
The past is gone and won’t return. The future isn’t here yet. The only moment we have is this present moment, and yet most of our time is spent either worrying or feeling guilty about what has happened in the past or planning for the future. The truth is that we can’t affect either the past or the future, and so when we spend out time there we miss out on life.
So much of toxic religion has as its focus the past. We are encouraged to spend our time cataloging our sins so that we might confess them and then doing good acts to erase the consequences of them. We hope and pray we won’t repeat those sinful acts in the future. Yet the truth is that the consequences of our sinful acts are already in place. Worrying about them won’t change a thing. Confessing them will only help if we feel unduly burdened by them. The negative karma generated by those actions is already in place.
Literally millions of variables will be put into play between this moment and the future. Only a handful of those are within our control, so worrying about the future is truly unproductive. Far better to attend to the present moment.
How do we attend to the present moment? There are many ways, including mindfulness of breathing, meditation, and giving our attention exclusively to what we are doing right now. When we do the dishes, we pay exclusive attention to doing the dishes. When we talk to a loved one, we attend completely to what they say. We learn to do this through the practice of meditation – just as Jesus did when he went away to a quiet place to pray.