The front page of Time magazine last week focused on the international interest in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. Based on Buddhist practices, it has proven to help people reduce stress in our frenetic world. I attended a seminar on this years ago and was saddened how few people associated Christians and churches with contentment, joy, and “centeredness” in life. The tradition of “centering” is rich in our biblical, Christian tradition. Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness in God’s presence. Elijah was a prophet of the desert who learned to hear God in silence. John the Baptist’s ministry flowed from the quietness of the desert. Jesus had rhythms of activity and aloneness. John Cassian wrote extensively on meditating on Scripture in “mindfulness” before the Lord in his Conferences. The desert fathers and monastics, through history, have continued this tradition. The ministry of Contemplative Outreach, founded by Trappist monks in the 1960′s, was an effort. Read more.
Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place where he prayed.” Jesus modeled a regular rhythm of “Being with God” followed by “Doing for God” (i.e. activity). As a result, He remained anchored and centered amidst the chaos and stress around Him. Take the following inventory to evaluate your rhythms: Is Your Doing Out of Balance with Your Being? You avoid silence, and when you are quiet, your mind constantly races. You skip or skim on Sabbath. You hurry a lot. You position yourself so that others think well of you You say “yes’ when you would rather say “no” You are resentful and tired because you regularly “try to do it all.” You rarely taste your food as a gift of God. You have little mindfulness of delighting in Christ’s love during the day. You are. Read more.