Meditation or Mindfulness or Both!
I love Headspace. It’s a program and app by Andy Puddicombe, where he introduces you to meditation and mindfulness with a series of 10 min sessions (can be longer), varying from ones on technique to others on how to become a more rounded and more aware person. I love his voice and I love the guided nature of the sessions, which focus on the breath as a form of awareness training and are based on his 12 years as a Buddhist monk.
It always give me a lift and helps me become aware of my activities during the day.
The practise of sitting in silence brings a peace to me, a resting of my inner thoughts and anxiety , a recognition that to be alive and breathing is a joy and a gift. It leads me to contemplate not only my life but the lives of others. In a different way. How I can live with openness and love for one another and ourselves?
But it is not Christian meditation, which I also do once a week on a Tuesday, with a few others.
We base this type of meditation on the writings of John Main and Lawrence Freeman, who formed the World Community of Christian Meditation a number of years ago.
What do I think I am doing in Christian meditation that I am not doing using my Headspace app?
When I sit in silence in Christian meditation, I drop my own ego, my own needs and wants, and busyness, and listen. Not with ears but with heart, to the energy of the universe that enriches and drives us forward, to be better than we can be, more loving, caring and compassionate.
In the silence I believe I am becoming attentive to God, or as Rupert Sheldrake says, the consciousness of God. Not a God who speaks clear words from some faraway place, but the ground of being, the Spirit of life, that speaks to us about what is life giving. In those times we may sense an inner feeling of peace and belonging. And purpose. Or in the words of Paul Tillich, what is our ultimate concern, not only for me but for all people everywhere. When I listen I become more fully alive and connected.
Does it work? I sound like I might do it pretty successfully, but that is far from the truth, often I am distracted or fall asleep!
It takes practise and not everyone is interested in following it. Others may find going for a walk or sitting by the seaside gives them a similar sense of the sacred. But it seems to help me.
But back to the question, Christian meditation or mindfulness. I think Christian meditation is more than mindfulness, or an awareness of life. It is an awareness that there is something more to this life, that can be felt, or sensed or discovered in the silence. Its opening ourselves to the spirit of God that can lead us in a new direction. It is adding an extra dimension to all the benefits gained from mindfulness activities. A deep and divine dimension
Where does that leave the beautiful Andy and the headspace app?
Well, where it was.
I still love my Headspace App and Andy, with his beautiful voice and encouragement to be in the moment and will continue to practise this as well.
I think a bit of meditation and a bit silence is good, whatever its form. I suspect God is not all that fussy!