Mindfulness practice is hugely popular these days! But what, Tim Stead asks, does it have to offer Christianity? How might it help us to transform the way we manage stress and open up more completely to the promised ‘life in all its fullness’?
Key is the definition of mindfulness as being more fully aware of our own experience in the present moment in a non-judgmental way. The author finds that ‘distractions’, so often the bane of those trying to pray, can be taken note of without our being caught up in or taken over by them. A non-judgemental approach seems entirely consistent with talk of grace, and as Christians we know we can only ever experience God in the present moment. Tim reflects:‘If I feel loved entirely without judgment, I will gradually dare to allow every aspect of myself to come into the light of God’s gaze and so into relationship with the rest of myself – and this is how healing comes.’
Tim Stead has been an ordained Anglican priest for 20 years and is currently Vicar of Holy Trinity, Headington Quarry, Oxford. He is an accredited mindfulness teacher with the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and teaches their eight-week Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course as well as running mindfulness courses and retreats in the parish and for clergy in the diocese. His first book, Mindfulness and Christian Spirituality (March 2016) was highly acclaimed, and he is regularly asked to speak at Greenbelt.