By Fr. Alex Ezechukwu, OCD
There is a lot of talk these days about mindfulness.
In our hectic world of busyness, the practice of slowing down … of bringing our minds to the present - has captured the attention of those who realize that they are missing something in life because they are moving too fast.
To achieve mindfulness, methods of meditation have become popular. These methods have been appropriated by Christian teachers who see in them a springboard to a deeper relationship with God.
One such teacher is Angela Rogerson, who has worked as a university lecturer and a retreat leader, and has offered her insights to Carmelite religious and laity in our part of the world.
Ms. Rogerson has given lectures which are part of our Wisdom Lectures video series.
In one of her two talks, “Contemplative Awareness – Living in the Divine Presence,” Ms. Rogerson brings aspects of the today’s popular concept of mindfulness into play with Christian meditation in the Carmelite tradition.
Mindfulness was introduced into recent Western thought by Jon Kabat-Zinn, an American Buddhist, who used the technique to help people cope with chronic pain, for whom there weren’t easy medical solutions.
Ms. Rogerson explains that mindfulness is not something that belongs only to the Buddhist tradition.
Dorothy and the Yellow Brick Road
What is the understanding of mindfulness in our secular world today?
To find out, I meandered over to YouTube and watched a lecture that Kabat-Zinn himself gave to Google employees a few years ago. He talked about living in the present, of quiet meditation, of looking at things non-judgmentally.
But Kabat-Zinn’s message seemed to fall so far short. The secular approach never goes beyond the human person.
It was like Dorothy coming to the end of the yellow brick road and yet not finding the Emerald City.
Can’t we take mindfulness further than this?
Let’s take it to the Eternal City – to the kingdom of God, the angels and the saints.
A truly human approach to meditation must reach out to the eternal, to the loving God. It seems to me that mindfulness finds its full meaning when it points the person to God.
Ms. Rogerson’s approach taps into that dimension.
Watch for my next article, which will explain more about the content of Ms. Rogerson’s talk.
Wisdom Lectures Are Available
Ms. Rogerson’s two videos, and one hundred others have been produced by the newly-formed DecorCarmeli Media, a service of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites in the United Kingdom.
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Draw to a closer union with God by delving into the Carmelite spirituality of St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and others with our Wisdom Lectures.