Saturday, February 9, 2008

Stressless Saturday

Stress Management professionals often use the term mindfulness as a state of mind that reduces stress. Although I am certified in stress management I often have a problem reconciling modern stress management techniques with the Bible. Psychologist and mindfulness meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn defined mindfulness as: "paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally." The interesting thing about modern psychology is that, as Solomon in Ecclesiastes says, there is nothing new under the sun! Every psychological principle can be found in the Bible. Unfortunately, men take Biblical principles and twist them to fit their understanding. Mindfulness meditation is really godly meditation minus God. Kabat-Zinn was on the right track until he used the words “non-judgmentally.” The Buddhist practice of mindfulness encourages it’s participants to empty themselves of desire to reach nirvana. However, the Bible tells us “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Romans 12:3. Although we, as Christians, are to be mindful, we have to be careful of anything that asks us to empty ourselves in a way that directly opposes Biblical principles.

As a Christian counselor I often teach clients how to relax through meditation. Philippians 4: 6-9 is the Biblical basis for meditation: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

So, the next time you’re stressed out, practice mindfulness…not by emptying your mind but by filling your mind with the things of God…and the God of peace will be with you!

No comments: