Is it the latest buzz, the newest health craze, or is it, could it be God, calling us? Is this the heart and voice of God to our culture, to this generation, to each of us, and are we hearing it, but maybe not knowing who or what it is? Is it the cry of God, reaching out to us, echoing its truth all around us until we hear it? Is it resonating in us because it is drawing us, because we feel the truth of it somewhere inside?
There is an new buzz word out there right now...for quite a few nows actually - the word mindfulness. Everywhere articles are being written and speakers are speaking about the power of and the need for us to slow down, be present, live in the moment, be mindful. Brain scientists have discovered fairly recently that meditation creates mindfulness, and actually changes how our brains work. Large companies are exploring how mindfulness is connected to innovation and creativity. Psychiatrists and counselors, wise people and writers of Facebook memes and women's magazines are telling us that mindfulness counters stress, and in so doing impacts our health.
Is it God, calling us? Have we begun to pay attention to this because God's voice is reverberating all around us and our hearts are responding to the sound?
Way back a long time ago I used to play guitar. And I learned something kind of cool that I didn't know before. When a guitar is just laying there, sans player, and someone close by plays a note that is the same as the note one of the guitar strings is tuned to make, that string will start to vibrate with that sound, all by itself. The sound has to be close enough, both in proximity and accuracy for it to work, but when it does it is totally cool. Are like that too? Is there something inside of us, put there by our creator no doubt, some part of us that recognizes truth? And when we hear truth in close enough proximity and accuracy, and when nothing heavy is laying on that part of us and stopping the vibrations, maybe that truth vibrates within us?
If it is God calling out to us, to all of us, why would he be calling us to mindfulness? Well, think of it. Where do we experience true connection with each other? What does face to face and eye to eye contact do to our hearts? How and when does true love penetrate our souls? What is required of us if we are to be truly present, truly mindful: honesty, humility, confession, acknowledgement of our genuine selves, living in reality, not in wishful thinking or in the future or the past. And is that not how and when we truly encounter God? Put another way, how is a generation obsessed with who we wish we were, and with success meaning production so much that we live far beyond our real time capacity almost all the time - how is that generation going to encounter God?
Is God calling out to us?
If we are always in our minds eye wishing we were different, better, somewhere else, we will not connect with God there. If we are going through our day planning the next meeting, the next shopping list, the next day or week or month, we will not connect with God there either, any more than a child will connect with a parent who is glued to a screen or immersed in a task. Connection only happens when we stop, look at the other, and gather our thoughts enough to think about and focus on what the other is saying, doing, feeling. Connection only happens when we are present. When we are mindful.
If God were talking to me, reaching out to me, would I even notice?
Is God calling out to us, to all of us?
And if He is, the call to mindfulness is really a call to Himself. So often when I think our culture seems to have encountered truth, I think of this line in the bible "having a form of godliness but denying its power." (1Tim. 2:5) We hear the truth and recognize it in ourselves (and what is truth if not godliness), but we deny its power - because for anything to have the power to change us we have to embrace it fully, and we have to tap into something bigger than ourselves. We have to find the life that is inhabiting the truth.
How do we find the power in mindfulness? The power in mindfulness is that mindfulness is the place where we truly are, and that is where God waits for us, in all his forgiveness, love and life. It is the same as with all our relationships - true connection happens only when we are genuine and when we are present. All that honesty, humility, confession and acknowledgement of our genuine selves needs love, acceptance and forgiveness. And then we realize need life - life full of more than ourselves, life not laced through with death like ours is - life full of courage, strength, ability and love, true love that exists beyond our own judgmental, fearful and self-protective capacity. We need a safe place, a safe heart big enough to see us, to forgive us, to love us still and to give us hope and faith in the future. We need a love big enough to love us but not lie to us either. It's no help to just realize who we truly are without having a way to be there, and not just be there but to live and thrive there. The power in mindfulness is that mindfulness is the place where we truly are, and where God waits for us, in all his forgiveness, love and life. Without that encounter, then mindfulness might slow us down a little, might relax us a little, but it will not truly change us. But without mindfulness, we will not encounter the God who can and who will.
Can you hear it? Can you hear the heart of God calling to us?