In discussions about mindfulness where I bring in the Christian traditions of deep prayer, contemplation, and meditation, I regularly receive responses akin to: “Yes, they are all aiming for the same thing.” And soon, the other person will proceed with what they see as the aim of both the Christian and their practice of mindfulness – usually it is something like “peace”.
Well I strongly disagree.
Read my lips: The aim of Christian practices and disciplines of deep prayer (including terms such as “contemplation” and “meditation”) is growth into union with God.
Some of the effects of Christian practices and disciplines of deep prayer may (or may not) be peace, joy, etc. But these are not the goal.
The goal of schools requiring mindfulness practices of its students may be to improve concentration and hence learning and grades. The goal of businesses practicing mindfulness may be to increase productivity. A golfer may practice mindfulness to improve his/her game. Etc. Scientific studies focus on the effects of mindfulness.
Christian traditions of deep prayer, contemplation, and meditation (call them “Christian mindfulness” if you will) may use the same practices as other disciplines of mindfulness, but the intention in using them is different.
The effects of mindfulness practices (that do not have the same intention as the Christian disciplines) may result in growth into union with God.
The various distinctions are important.
What do you think?