The simplest definition of mindfulness is[:]
attention to one's experience in the present moment.
observing thoughts and emotions
from moment to moment
without judging or becoming caught up in them.
During a practice session, when the mind wanders, the meditator ideally takes note of where it goes, and calmly returns to the moment at hand,
perhaps focusing on[:]
or a simple yoga move.
Over a decade ago, three psychologists Zindel Segal, PhD, J. Mark G. Williams, DPhil, and John Teasdale, PhD developed MBCT. In particular, MBCT seeks to teach people to disengage from the deeply ingrained dysfunctional thoughts that are common with depression.
As currently designed, MBCT is an eight-week, group-based program that incorporates mindfulness exercises including yoga, body awareness and daily homework, such as eating or doing household chores, with full attention to what one is doing, moment by moment. The protocol derives from Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction curriculum, and includes elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) targeted to people with prior histories of depression.
In the psychology world mindfulness is all the rage. This Buddhist concept has spawned a myriad of new therapies including mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and mindfulness dialectical behavior therapy. Do Catholic Christians need these secular mindfulness methods to combat the spiritual aspect of depression and anxiety?
In other words, let the thoughts and memories come and let them go, no particular attention given to them. Accept. Let go.
The practice of mindfulness and mindfulness meditation has positive effects on the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Brain scan technology confirms these effects. For the practitioner of mindfulness hurtful memories, negative self-appraisals, and tension can seem to melt. Healing seems possible. Why? Because the practitioner lets the pain come and go without giving it much attention. Instead, he/she focuses on the moment and being absorbed in that moment.
We Catholic Christians have our own form of mindfulness that has evolved from several centuries of monastic tradition.
are all ways one can become dispassionately mindful in the present. In the Catholic Christian version the present moment is actually an awareness of Gods presence in that moment.
I have always wondered why so many Catholics feel the need to jump on the psychological bandwagon of mindfulness. Is it a lack of knowledge about the richness of our own prayer traditions? Is it the mistaken notion that Catholic meditation is designed to have one wallow in ones pains and sins? That is a myth, by the way. St. Anthony of Egypt, desert father, 251 A.D. said, The prayer of the mind is not perfect until he [the pray-er] no longer realizes himself or the fact that he is praying.
This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 1990