The short and quick answer is yes and no. It really depends on what you mean by mindful meditation.
By mindful meditation are you referring to the ancient practices long associated with Buddhism now made very popular by xyz or do you mean ancient practices found in the Bible and most often looked over?
Hmmm, have I sparked your curiousity yet?
There are some wonderful examples of and references to mindful meditation found in the Bible but before I delve in to a couple of them let me paint you a picture using my own experiences.
My Mindful Journey
A few years back, around 2011 God began to speak to me about being more mindful, but He didn’t use that word as it wasn’t in my vocabulary. The words which He did use were that I should learn to be more ‘present and aware’. You might be screwing your eyebrows together right now so I’ll explain. To be present means to BE in the moment, it simply means to exist/be right here and now instead of somehwere in the distant or not too distant future worrying about what’s around the corner or full of thoughts and regrets of the past. To be aware simply means to be conscious and alive to the experiences of the present moment.
This was a quite a huge and daunting task for a compulsive worrier and thinker (Type A, C and D person), how was I to learn to experience moment to moment life instead of thinking about everything I should be worrying about? This led me to my dear friend Google, who informed me that what I needed to do was to become more mindful, unfortuntaely I also learned that mindfulness practice is steeped in Buddhist faith and tradition.
One thing I worry about is whether I’m doing something correctly, I might be an expert on it but until I’ve learnt it from someone I awlays second guess myself, I don’t know if you can relate. Anyway, I couldn’t go on a mindful training course as I didn’t want to go against my faith or introduce anything negative into my life. So, I had to learn the slow and hard way of what it meant to be present and aware.
This brings me to an experience I had the other day which sparked this article. It was Shabbat (Sabbath) and I decided to go to the park, the sun was hot in the sky and I felt a yearning to be outside. I packed a few things, my Bible, some pencils and sketchpad, my meditation booklet and notepad and some praise and worship music (I was well equipped). I got to the park and had a wonderful time doing some prophectic singing, drawing and just watching whatever passed my way. I enjoyed the sound of the insects, the call of the birds and the whistling of the breeze as it passed by. I took off my shoes and dug my feet down into the grassy earth and was awed by the majesty of the trees surrounding me.
On my way back I decided to stop and sit on a bench, as I sat I saw a earwig creep out of the grass and slowly begin to make an arc around my feet. It looked like a tiny mouse to me from my perspective, I sat quietly and still, nothing moving apart from my eyes as I watched it. I thought to myself “where are you going little mouse?”
I watched as it brushed it’s way past fallen leaves and tumbled over stones and twigs and was amazed at how so small a thing had weight to cause them to shift and turn. I must have watched like this for five minutes before it re-entered the grass and I lost sight of it. And then it hit me, “Solomon!”
Mindful Meditation in the Bible
The whole experience had reminded me of King Solomon, even though he was a very important gentleman in charge of high and lofty stately affairs, he wasn’t too busy to watch ants! Yes, ants. He mentions ants twice in the Book of Proverbs, here is one reference:
Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
Without having any chief,
officer, or ruler,
she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest.
The thing that struck me when I re-read over the passages was not only that he stopped long enough to watch them but, he observed them and meditated on them to such an extent that he gained some knowledge and wisdom from their toings and froings.
This may not be a big deal to you, but it should be. Proverbs is a book of wisdom gleaned through observation and meditation. If King Solomon hadn’t taken time out of his busy schedule to be still, observe and meditate where would the Book of Proverbs be? Not so Proverbial and not so wise maybe?
My Mindful Journey part 2
A few weeks ago I had such a beautiful experience, I decided to go out for a walk ( I love my walks), another bright sun shining day. I walked down to my local library, taking pleasure in experiencing the nooks and crannies of this place where we have recently moved to and just rejoicing being in the presence of YHWH. On the way back I saw a little bird land on a branch just by my side. It felt like I was seeing a bird for the first time ever, I saw everything so clearly, her little eye blinking and black and her little beak opening and closing as she sang her little birdy song. I was so moved, my heart was so full with joy that I felt like I could cry, I praised God instead and said “thank you Abba, now I know what you saw when you finished creating and said ‘It is good'”. In all honesty, I felt so close to YHWH God then, like He had let me in to what He sees everyday when He looks over everything He has made. No wonder He puts up with us all when He can see past the badness to the beauty that lies within, HalleluYAH!!!!
Mindful Meditation in the Bible
This experience made me think of Yahushua’s words:
Behold the birds of the sky, that they neither sow nor reap, neither do they gather into barns, and your Father who is in Heaven sustains them; behold, are you not better than they?
Do you notice the word ‘behold’ (x2) also translated as look upon or observe, this is a commandment, to look, observe these things that our God and Father has created. For it acts as a witness and a testimony showing that He is able to and continues to provide for all of His creation. Biblehub subheads this scripture with the phrase ‘the cure for anxiety’, imagine that, taking time out to observe God’s goodness in creation and meditating on what this means to us is hailed as the cure for anxiety!
What would actually happen if we took this advice?
Well, I’m excited about what this means for me and as you can see I’ve had some amazing experiences just learning to be present and aware. These experiences have increased my joy, peace and well-being immensely. There is so much more that I would like to share on this but maybe another day. But I want to round-up by saying:
- Be aware – Even though I have pointed out good examples from the Bible sill be aware that any meditation done incorrectly does more harm than good. If you are uncertain about how to meditate just wait on God to teach you or find another Believer whom you trust to support you.
- More choices – Mindful meditation is only one form of meditation found in the Bible, I also use reflective meditation everyday which has really helped to change the way I think and feel about life, myself and God. On this note I am starting a free reflective meditation course based on my book – visit my home page and scroll to the bottom for more info.
Until next time blessings of Shalom to you,