Mindfulness and Christian Spirituality
May I be safe and protected.
May I be at peace in mind and body.
May I live with ease and kindness.
(Kindness practice, p. 120)
We can all engage with such longings – and wish these good things for the people we love. Mindfulness practice is hugely popular these days! But what, Tim Stead asks, does it have to offer Christianity? How might it help us to transform the way we manage stress and open up more completely to the promised ‘life in all its fullness’?
Key is the definition of mindfulness as being more fully aware of our own experience in the present moment in a non-judgmental way. The author finds that ‘distractions’, so often the bane of those trying to pray, can be taken note of without our being caught up in or taken over by them. A non-judgemental approach seems entirely consistent with talk of grace, and as Christians we know we can only ever experience God in the present moment. Tim reflects:‘If I feel loved entirely without judgment, I will gradually dare to allow every aspect of myself to come into the light of God’s gaze and so into relationship with the rest of myself – and this is how healing comes.’
‘The book on mindfulness that many of us have been waiting for! Tim Stead writes with disarming honesty for anyone seeking a fruitful and truthful way to live.’
John Pritchard, former Bishop of Oxford
‘A fascinating and insightful examination of the links between the Christian contemplative tradition and the stress-reducing mindfulness programme developed by Professor Mark Williams and others. I learned so much from reading this book and strongly recommend it.’
Michael Mosley, award winning BBC author, science journalist and presenter
‘The popularity of mindfulness in our time is a reminder that the ancient contemplative practices of attentiveness and stillness are needed more than ever. Tim Stead suggests that the practice of mindfulness brings gifts to Christian faith and living. It is more than just another therapy – it makes space for God.’
David Runcorn, author of Spirituality Workbook