For several years now the medical community has been learning about “mindfulness” — the idea that we can, and should, become more aware of our physical well-being by learning to take mental assessments of our well-being, or, as the Mayo Clinic page says “being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment.”

It seems that at the base of mindfulness and “mindful meditation” is something our teachers always said:  “PAY ATTENTION!”

Now, I have not studied mindfulness much, but with the above definition I’m wondering how you can be intensely aware of what you’re feeling without some kind of interpretation or judgement.

Perhaps this is an oversimplification, but if you’re leg hurts, you’re going to wonder why.  If you have a stomach ache, you’re not going to be able to ignore it for long.   Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking mindfulness and some of the methods suggested to help reduce stress; reducing stress is always a good step toward improving not just physical health, but mental health.  After all, it’s using the brain (or mind) to reduce stress, which actually is the starting point of stress whether it’s from a physical dilemma or some kind of emotional or mental anguish.

Actually the idea is very old.  The Japanese and Chinese and other cultures have used the same idea of “mind over matter” (or body) for hundreds (thousands?) of years.

I tend to believe it’s more of a spiritual assessment as it is of a mental or physical assessment, because I believe our spirit involves our entire being, i.e. physical, mental, and emotional.   Children have a wonderful uncensored, uncluttered, sense of life:  When they’re happy, they sing.  When they’re sad, they cry.  They also have a God-given sense of danger and apprehension that adults too often ignore.  (If you have never read “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker, it’s a good read.)

The Bible says we should love God with “.. all our heart (emotion), all of our soul (spirit), all of our strength (physical), and all of our mind (mental).” Mark 12:30

Then in II Timothy 1:7 it says “We are not given a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-discipline.”

Some versions say “a sound mind.”

Self-discipline?  A sound mind?

Sounds like mindfulness to me.

And we read in Philippians 4:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.