Reclaiming Mindfulness by Elise Harboldt

Reclaiming Mindfulness

by Elise Harboldt  |  December 29, 2016

Hey, you. Yeah, the person staring at the screen.

I’d like to invite you to think about your feet.

They’ve done a lot for you, so take a few minutes to acknowledge your ten-toed reality.  How far have your feet travelled today? Have you ever gone anywhere without them? Do you like them, or do you think they’re gross?

Next, notice what your feet are feeling. Are they cold? Any pain or discomfort? Bare to the air or surrounded by socks? Do your socks match?

All right. Our experiment is done and it’s time to talk about why we just did that. Of all the things in the universe, why should we expend our precious mental energy on feet, unless, of course, we’re clipping our toenails or buying new running shoes. Do we really want our feet to be in our heads? I don’t, but what I shared is a silly example of a habit that I do want to practice, and that’s mindfulness.

Have you heard the buzz about mindfulness? Google, Target, and JP Morgan offer employees mindfulness training to increase productivity and boost the bottom line. Elementary schools use mindful meditation as a strategy to improve student’s attention. Many Olympic athletes credit their success to the practice of mindfulness.

But what exactly is it?

Mindfulness is “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” (Oxford Dictionary, 2016).

Creationists should be at the forefront of mindfulness.

I believe that Christians should be mindful people. No, I’m not talking about attending meditation workshops that fill the mind with random things or empty the mind altogether. Some of the secular mindfulness exercises are downright weird and don’t point to Jesus. But to say that mindfulness is “bad” is to say that it’s wrong to be conscious or aware of something, and I’m pretty sure there’s nothing moral about being unconscious.

As amazing as your brain is, it can only think about one thing at a time. At any given moment, your one conscious thought may be far removed from what it is that you’re actually experiencing. One of the goals of the mindfulness movement is to connect human beings to the present moment.

Mindful eating occurs when we slowly savor the flavor of our food, instead of swallowing it whole on the way to work. Mindful conversations happen when we set aside our cell phones, look someone in the eyes, and truly listen to what he or she is saying. Mindful time in nature requires that we slow down and actually engage our senses in the beauty around us.

Creationists should be at the forefront of mindfulness. Why? Because our understanding of nature and of God infuses our present-moments with a beautiful meaning that far transcends any mindfulness that could exist in an evolutionary worldview. My favorite example of mindfulness meditation is found in Psalm 8:3-4:

“When I consider your heavens,

the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

which you have set in place….”

King David’s senses are filled with the beauty of creation. As he mindfully savors its meaning, a question forms in his mind. It’s the question that all mindfulness should lead us to.

“So God, I’m out here looking at the moon and the stars. I’m thinking about the things that You’ve made, and I can’t help but wonder…”

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,

human beings that you care for them?”

Did you catch that? King David’s mindfulness simply led him to the mindfulness of God. As he fixed his mind on the work of God’s fingers, his heart was filled with the warmth of God’s heart.

Let your senses remind you of His sensational generosity.

“Who am I, God, that you are mindful of me? You care about me. I’m the one you’re thinking about!” A few Psalms later, David unpacks God’s mindfulness even more: “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered. I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!” (Psalm 139:17-18, NLT)

Jesus is mindful of you. And He wants His artwork to be a constant reminder of the precious thoughts He has toward you.

“‘God is love’ is written upon every opening bud, upon every spire of springing grass. The lovely birds making the air vocal with their happy songs, the delicately tinted flowers in their perfection perfuming the air, the lofty trees of the forest with their rich foliage of living green—all testify to the tender, fatherly care of our God and to His desire to make His children happy” (Ellen White, Steps to Christ, p. 10).

I’d like to encourage you to join the mindfulness movement. You don’t need to bow, chant, light a candle, or turn into a yogi (in fact, mindfulness will move you away from mind-emptying meditations). All you need to do is direct more thought and attention to God’s good and perfect gifts. Let your senses remind you of His sensational generosity.

As you slowly chew your food. What kind of God would create these amazing tastes?

As you hold the hand of one you love. What does the gift of touch reveal about its Artist?

As you look into a star-filled sky or feel the crunch of autumn leaves beneath your feet, pause for a mindful moment, and remember…you’re on His mind and He wants to be on yours.

Elise Harboldt Writer/Producer
Beautiful Minds Medical
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  • Jennifer

    I love this! I also believe Buddhism borrowed mindfulness from the Scriptures. I do a lot of work with mindfulness and identity, because it seems that when people identify with their sinful fears, they stick, versus if they observe them with more detachment, they run their cycle. I use Romans 7 “It is no longer I, but sin that dwells in me” a lot and it seems to provide the needed detachment. Whether its anxieties, melancholy, sexual temptation or whatever, this seems to take the charge out of temptation. You’ve come from a different angel here but it’s just as valid. Thanks for reclaiming mindfulness, Elise.

  • ExpatEUTherapist

    “I also believe Buddhism borrowed mindfulness from the Scriptures.”
    Buddhism and mindfulness pre-date Christianity by at least 1000 years. It is much more likely that Jesus understood the need to ‘be still’ and taught his disciples this essential mindfulness.

  • Valerie Wise

    Yes! I so agree with you about “true” mindfulness. It has been my belief that it is allowing my mind to focus on one thing at a time instead of the cultural myth about multi-tasking. Most important, it is about training one’s thoughts on things that are important, God’s Word, as given by His Holy Spirit. It is directing my thoughts as Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8 on things that are good, lovely, noble, true, etc. and in Colossians in 3:2 “Set your affections on things above, not on things of the earth.” Then I can be “transformed by the renewing of my mind”. I share this whenever I can in my clinical practice. I believe in keeping the mind-ful of His promises for life’s problems.

  • Elise Harboldt

    Thanks for sharing, Valerie! I feel really challenged by this concept because it definitely doesn’t come naturally to my way of thinking.