Meditation and mindfulness are not inherently Buddhist any more than prayer is the property of one particular religion. Meditation practices are part of the contemplative traditions of many religions, including Christianity and Judaism (which predates Buddhism). In fact, we can see principles of mindfulness expressed in Scripture and throughout Christian history.
For centuries contemplative Christians have taught the value of meditation and silence, the power of the breath, and the importance of experiencing God in the present moment. Thomas Merton, Brother Lawrence, Jean-Pierre de Caussade, and François Fénelon had been my guides in these Christian prayer and meditation practices long before I was introduced to mindfulness. As Richard Foster writes in Celebration of Discipline, “If we are constantly being swept off our feet with frantic activity, we will be unable to be attentive at the moment of inward silence. A mind that is harassed and fragmented by external affairs is hardly prepared for meditation.”
The Gift of Being Fully Present
Mindfulness offers unique benefits in teaching us how to remain in the present moment. Here are three simple skills you can borrow from mindfulness to help you be fully awake and alive1