Wild Haven Rescue, Recovery, & Respite Resource Guide

Mindfulness and-or-versus Meditation

Apr 24, 2024

This morning, in a Christian Yoga Instructors Group, these questions were posed to us to answer in helping a yoga therapist write her book.

What does meditation and mindfulness mean to you? 

How has it shaped your walk with Christ?

What habits do you implement to practice the pause?

----------and below was my answer ------------

My additions are in [ ] since I began sharing it in this blog and have had more time to consider my answer.

 

Mindfulness for me [Trish] is being intentional to notice in 5 “realms” [or facets] so to speak - keeping one eye/ear to Holy Spirit and one in the physical realm. Noticing internal and external [sensations] both physically and emotionally. Noticing my psyche/thoughts.  Experiencing my spiritual connectedness with Holy Spirit, and noticing when I’m not [experiencing connectedness], or when other spiritual forces are wrestling against me [or my] loved ones. It's intentionally noticing relationship nuances and dynamics and [choosing to] respond rather than react.

Meditation goes nearly hand in hand with mindfulness for me because it compels me to focus my attention “on things above.” To take that mindfulness in noticing/capturing (my thoughts, experiences, emotions) and then turning it into prayer and praise however my spirit is called to that aligns with The Word - and often means The Word that’s either written on my heart from studying it [in the past] or from opening it up to, literally, read it [in the present] when I can’t seem to remember it from my heart.

The 2 intertwine so that The Word is embodied no matter what I’m doing WHEN I’m intentional [to notice what I notice, and sense what I sense - internally/externally physically, emotionally, thoughtfully, spiritually, and relationally]. Thing is, when I’m not mindful to notice and meditate, my flesh will get the best of me … and I can get hurt or hurt others - unintentionally.

Unintentionality is the opposite of mindfulness and meditation. In my opinion, being unintentional as a lifestyle is intentionally disregarding our responsibility as Christ followers to BE intentionally mindful and to set our intentions on meditations ... [mindfully meditating on embodying], carrying out and living out, The Word in Holistic [our whole selves as we live, move, breathe, and have our being (Acts 17:28)] submission to the Triune God.

And what do I mean by embodying The Word? It is mindfully noticing every aspect of our whole lives - real and raw - and meditating on The Bible, The Word, The Truth to soak it in it to the point that it is who we are -captives set free from our flesh and the world's desires and shown The Way so that it is etched in, deeply rooted, on our hearts, spoken with our tongues with every breath, and followed with our bodies even when we don't feel it ... yet. It's so deeply in us that when unintentionally or intentionally bumped by the chaos of life, Christ is what spills out of us.

So WHAT DO I DO to practice the pause. I think it looks different depending on what day it is, what season it is, and even what year it is. It looked very different with babies, toddler, and elementary kids as the grew. Now they are graduating this spring and we are moving. But these are the FEW things that remained true throughout all of them. 

  1. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Usually in the morning, but sometimes midday, or at night, I take 10 minutes at least to read/listen to a devotional, meditate on passages (much like Lectio Divina -ish). (Thankfully, dogs necessitate a good 10 minute morning walk to potty). I LOVE the "Lectio 365" App!
  2. Even if it's not on a Sunday, each week there is ONE day of REST. It's intentionally setting aside anything that feels like work to me...even if it doesn't to anyone else - like my husband who says mowing is rest to him. It's my day to read, journal, relax, and I even try not to cook! It's reheated leftovers or make yourself a soup, salad, or sandwich day for our family!
  3. I make space for intentional times of creatively expressing myself - whether through crafts, paint, dancing, singing, and/or yoga (that is PURELY mine - not for a client/course). It is fun and it let's my imagination flourish! Something that is often stolen from trauma survivors when the creative brain gets shut down in fear, guilt, shame, and blame. Living in survival mode makes creativity difficult to access. Maybe one day I'll actually make time to learn to play that pretty purple guitar hanging on my wall like art ;) 
  4. Hiking, or intentional time in nature, at least weekly - if not daily! (Again, high energy, working dogs kind of necessitate this - which is intentional, too.) I even lead a small women's group called "Hiking to Heal" BECAUSE I find this soul-to-sole good for me ...and anyone who's around me... so I figure it's good for others, too. I'm MUCH more "grounded" to say the least when I've been hiking, or forest bathing, in nature. I believe being in and with nature reveals God's good good nature! Sometimes, it's the most "churched" I feel, being in HIS creation in HIS real and raw presence! I just want to shout "Hallelujah!" even as I type - looking outside into our backyard of trees!
  5. Intentional family dinners whenever we are all home (I have found this more difficult with teens' activities - like high school band and dating). Thankfully, each person in the family is now responsible to cook for one night a week - even if it has to get traded for another night due to conflicts in schedules! This one was a hard one for hubby during long business hours, but since he worked from home, even if he had to go back to work afterwards, he tried to come up for dinner for at least 30 minutes to eat with us. Annnnd, EVEN IF, no one else is available, I make me a dinner, I sit at the table, and I mindfully eat. I am somewhat of a foodie, too. 
  6. And finally, Friday Family Movie Night. We STILL do this nearly 48 out of 52 weeks a year! In fact, this past weekend, even with Hubby out of town, both my sons took the intentional initiative to order the pizza, queue up the movie, and we watched it together!

As for me, making space for sacred solitude, creativity, family/relationships, and just plain, SIMPLE fun is how I practice the pause and stay intentional to be mindful and meditate on The Word that's written on my heart ... or to get it there. Now, how about you?