Healing & Well-Being

Mindfulness and Meditation: The Christian Way

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6
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Date Published:
August 2, 2021

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Summary

Mindfulness and meditation are two different strategies. Both have awesome healing modalities and can be combined to create a perfect mixture of wellness and serenity. 

Mindfulness is a process that combines spirituality with modern psychology. 

The goal of mindfulness is to learn to have complete bodily awareness of your physical sensations, as well as your state of mind. One of the biggest benefits of mindfulness is that it can teach you to live a spiritual life and be comfortable in your own skin. 

Both mindfulness and meditation are valuable life skills, which help you learn to stay in the present moment and be more in touch with your authentic self. Neither practice is superior to the other.

In this article, we’ll look at the differences between mindfulness and meditation. We’ll also consider how you can incorporate mindfulness practices with Christian meditation to help you become the best version of yourself.

What is the difference between mindfulness and meditation?

Mindfulness is the practice of deliberately focusing your attention on the present moment without any judgment. 

This skill is developed further through meditation. The practice of mindfulness derives from sati - a Buddhist tradition. It's based on Zen, Vipassana, and Tibetan meditation techniques. 

Mindfulness isn't limited to Eastern traditions, though. It also has roots in Judaism and Christianity.

Buddhist monk meditating


One of the best-known Western practitioners of mindfulness is Jon Kabat-Zinn, who wrote a book called “Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress.” This book outlines a stress-reduction program and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) strategies. 

Jon Kabat-Zinn’s MBSR course, developed in the 1970s, focuses on teaching people how to cope with ongoing stress, anxiety, pain, and illnesses in their daily life through mindfulness. 

This training focuses on improving self-awareness and getting people to respond rather than react to stress. This training is designed to get you to change habitual reactivity patterns that are harmful in your life. 

By contrast, meditation is an intentional practice where a person uses techniques (including mindfulness) to focus on a certain target to quiet their mind. Meditation is usually conducted in a seated position in a quiet location.

Christian meditation specifically focuses on scripture and is less inward-looking and more Christ-centered.

The different forms of meditation practice include:

  • Breath-awareness meditation 
  • Loving-kindness meditation (akin to Christian meditation)
  • Mantra meditation
  • Visualization meditation
  • Guided meditation
  • Transcendental meditation

There are definite health benefits to meditation. 

Practicing meditation and mindfulness has been shown to reduce depression, stress, and anxiety, as well as lower blood pressure. It’s commonly used in schools and can help people struggling with illness, addictions, and trauma, such as PTSD.

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Using mindfulness and meditation together

Meditation is a technique for focus and relaxation. 

Mindfulness is about centering yourself and being fully aware of your body, thoughts, and surroundings. Mindfulness can be thought of as an inward-looking process.

You can practice mindfulness anywhere and at any time, and you don’t need to be meditating to be mindful. It is the simple act of being present in your daily life.

You'll be going about your day and noticing events around you. You pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, as well as the effect you have on others around you.

Meditation is designed to calm the mind and body, and it does this by focusing attention and awareness on certain areas. Meditation uses mindfulness.

In Latin, meditation means “to ponder.” Mindful meditation is inward-looking — it focuses on pondering and can include a full-body scan.

There are different types of meditation, but Christian meditation is where you'll think about God or the Holy Spirit — it can be used as a technique in conjunction with prayer.

Young woman meditating in nature


We can be mindful during our Christian meditation and invite Jesus Christ into each moment of our day so that the process of mindfulness is less inward-looking and more Christ-focused. 

Consider starting with this simple meditative prayer on commitment and perseverance.

The goal of mindfulness is to be centered and mindful at all times. Mindfulness meditation originates from Buddhist teachings and is the most popular meditation technique used in the Western world.

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How mindful Christian meditation can help you deal with anxiety

Meditation, which is Christ-focused, will help you calm a wandering mind and connect with God in your daily life. 

Romans 12:2 invites you to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing, and perfect will." 

Before practicing mindfulness, remember that only Jesus Christ can truly alleviate anxiety and depression. Develop your focused attention around Jesus rather than just yourself in your mindful meditation practice.

One of the first examples in the Bible of a person meditating is Isaac: 

“And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw...” (Genesis 24:63).

Just as Isaac did, we can use mindfulness and meditation in our daily lives. Sufferers of depression and anxiety can experience improvement in their mood after adopting habits of regular meditation, which uses mindfulness. 

A recent Harvard study found significant mental health benefits from the formal practice of transcendental meditation, particularly types using deep religious prayer to create a “relaxation response” and reduction in the body’s adrenaline fight or flight response.


Young man meditating in a field, hands clasped in prayer


Consider this Bible verse to help alleviate your anxiety: 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).

Matthew 6:25-33 instructs us to “not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” 

These inspirational Bible passages help us to stay present in the moment. They are a great way to combine mindfulness with meditation in a Christ-centered way.

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Focus on developing Christ-consciousness

Christian meditation focuses on the Word of God, and when we practice Christian meditation, we can readily incorporate mindfulness while remembering to make our focus on Christ. 

Jesus Christ exemplified mindfulness, and you see examples throughout scripture as he walked among His people and taught of God.

There's no doubt that learning a Christian way of combining mindfulness with meditation can improve health and well-being and give you the opportunity to grow in a spiritual sense. 

Matthew 6 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be handed to you.” Mindfulness and meditation are great ways to seek Him.

When you meditate mindfully, you can connect with Christ in the same way as you would in normal prayer, worship, or Bible study.

If you want to learn more about Christian mindfulness and meditation, download the pray.com app — for daily prayer, bedtime Bible stories, and more — in the Google Play and Apple Store.

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