Life is often not easy, and I am sure we all struggle with different things from time to time. Life is also beautiful, with moments of connection, growth, learning. Human spirit has a great capacity for exploration and many things about life enrich us, as well as people around us. But in the areas where we struggle, areas of dis-ease, where we are not at easy, in those areas we need healing.
In the book “Jesus Calling”, Sarah Young writes what Jesus tells her:
“Learn to live from your true Centre in Me. I reside in the deepest depths of your being, in eternal union with your spirit. It is at this deepest level that My Peace reigns continually. You will not find lasting peace in the world around you….But there is a gold mine of Peace deep within you, waiting to be tapped. Take some time to delve into the riches of My residing Presence. I want you to live increasingly from your real Centre, where My Love has an eternal grip on you. I am Christ, the hope of Glory.” (20th February)
When we still ourselves we tap into that place within us. But it may not always be as easy to do that. Let’s say we are in the midst of something that we find disturbing, and we feel that our emotions are about to get inflamed and we might react in a way we don’t want to. What may be going on is that the back part of our brain has been triggered, where all unprocessed events of our lives have been stored. That part of brain also doesn’t have a timeline: it does not know if it’s 2017, or 2012, or 1999. If we take time to focus on our breathing, this will not only take us into the present moment, but deep breathing also takes us out of our back brain into our front brain, which is known as our logical brain. So instead of a situation or emotion taking control of us, we now have the power to take control over it – and this happened simply by taking time to focus on our breath.
This will require constant practice and awareness that God calls us to recognise His presence that is always with us. If worry or a disturbing thought is taking our attention, redirecting our thoughts to the present moment and to God will not happen in an instant. We will need to spend some time focusing on our breath, and we may need to repeat this action many times. When we are grounded in the present moment we become aware that we are not alone; God is there with us too.
What is specific about Christian mindfulness is that it leads into a relationship. What I mean is that when we are mindful of the present moment, we notice the Presence around us, God’s presence, and we give it space to surface; like a fragrance it can rise around us and we feel ourselves encircled in it. This presence is the source of our peace.
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland