What is mindfulness? Is that some new age thing? Is that Buddhist? What about Christians? Did Jesus practice mindfulness? Or is that meditation?

Mindfulness is used to describe the experience of being aware of the present, who is around you, what is happening, your emotions, your thoughts and your bodily sensations, right now. Mindfulness probably has its roots in Buddhism, however, Christians can practice mindfulness without worrying about doing something new age.

I believe Jesus also practiced meditation. When He was alone in the desert, I like to think He was praying to the Father, but also meditating on scripture. Youth of his culture memorized whole portions of the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible). Meditation is described as ruminating, rehearsing, and turning over in your mind a specific thought, image or set of words. When the devil tempted Jesus, using twisted scripture, Jesus quoted scripture back to the devil, appropriately, with deep understanding, and was able to withstand the temptations.

My youth pastor, Christopher Barnes, used to say that meditation was fine, but what really matters is what you are meditating ON. Are you thinking about yourself, or another person, or plans for your future? Or are you meditating on the word of God, scripture, the Bible? “As a person thinks in his heart, so is he.” We ought to be very aware of what exactly we are meditating on, and whether or not God Himself would want us to meditate on it.

I believe that Jesus Christ practiced mindfulness. In the Bible (John 4) there is a story about Jesus with the woman at the well. He was fully present with her. He talked with her, treated her with respect, and was interested in having an appropriate relationship with her. He was sensitive to her needs as a person, and wanted to connect in a meaningful way. That’s mindfulness. He may have been physically thirsty, and He did ask her for a drink of water. That’s also mindfulness. He knew that she was a Samaritan woman, but chose to love her anyway. Also mindfulness.

Mindfulness can mean that we are aware of being present, in this moment, at this time. Letting go of the past, and focusing on issues at hand. Mindfulness means that we are not distracted by the past or future, but can focus and enjoy this moment, today, right now. It is being aware of what others are doing and saying, without thinking about how you’ll respond. It is empathizing with another person, imagining life from their point of view, if the desire is to truly understand the other person. It could mean suspending your own agenda, beliefs or perspective, for the sake of another person, or for the sake of relationship.

If you would like help learning more about mindfulness, and how it can help you, please contact me as soon as possible. I look forward to serving you.


J. Faith Gallup, LCSW