For the past few years, mindfulness has been a popular topic in wellness. Mental health experts recommend the practice to stressed individuals, as mindfulness supposedly relaxes our minds. However, stress, from a religious or spiritual perspective, is typically regarded as a consequence of drifting away from God. Many religions believe that prayer keeps us grounded. Hence, prayer can also help us when we’re stressed.
But many people, no matter their religion, also see mindfulness as a way of praying. Instead of reciting novenas or attending worship services, they prefer to take time to reflect by themselves. The silence helps them let go of their worries and trust that God is in control. But do religions encourage this form of prayer, or does it go against certain teaching?
Mindfulness Meditation Across Different Faiths
People who meditate to be spiritual believe the saying, “If prayer is talking to God, meditation is listening to God.” Silencing the superficial conscious and bringing the “divine” deep mind layers to the surface is believed to be the way to hear God’s message. Meditation practitioners have, in fact, reported experiencing God’s divine presence through their practice. But what do different faiths say about meditation?
In Sikhism, people are taught to arise early and meditate on God and His word. The religion teaches that meditation enables one to transcend the problems caused by their ego. The Sikh faith also believes that prayer and meditation should be intended for thanking God rather than asking something from Him.
In Islam, meditation is also encouraged. The Qur’an actually states that is the highest way of listening to Allah. Similarly, the Buddhism faith regards meditation as “central,” or the most important thing an individual can do. They believe meditation is the only way to transform the human condition, relieving them of fear, anxiety, hate, sorrow, etc. The practice can open the door to peace and “deeply profound states of being.”
There are no specific teachings about meditation in Christianity, but it was referenced in the Bible more than once. For instance, Psalm 77:12 said, “I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.” There’s also a reference in Psalm 1:2, which states, “but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law, he meditates day and night.”
While most religions might not believe that mindfulness meditation can replace worship services, you’re the one who knows your relationship with God the best. So as long as you practice your faith’s teachings and don’t forget to pray in any way you prefer every day, your spirituality remains strong.
Ways to Experience God’s Presence in Mindfulness
For someone who hasn’t meditated yet, experiencing God’s presence in the practice might induce skepticism. Children, for instance, aren’t one to stay still and wait for God’s manifestation to take place. Chances are, they won’t even understand how to listen to God.
The key to experiencing God’s presence in mindfulness is to see Him everywhere. For example, while you’re juggling so many tasks in your office, you can’t concentrate. By pausing to feel all your sensations without getting distracted by your surroundings, you can remind yourself that God is with you in your struggles. You have tight deadlines now, but you can manage your time and tasks more wisely by surrendering your worries to God.
Spending time with nature will also encourage mindfulness. You don’t even have to go on a nature trip. Office buildings usually avail of designer commercial lawn and landscape services, so their gardens are serene enough to put you in a trance-like state in which you can find God’s voice.
If you want to teach the same practice to your children, try not to focus your lessons on making God’s presence felt. Chances are, children can’t grasp the concept of listening to God’s voice yet. So aim your lessons on making every sensation felt. For example, hug your child, and tell them to concentrate on how the hug feels. Do simple body movements like stretches. Then let them observe the effects of stretching on their body.
Nature walks, breathing exercises, and mindful eating can also teach mindfulness to kids effectively. However, expect them to be distracted multiple times during your mindfulness sessions. Even adults can find their concentration disrupted during a mindfulness retreat. It takes practice and experience to feel God’s presence in silence. So be patient, and most importantly, have faith that you will eventually experience His grace without even trying.