We have had so many questions about whether or not a Catholic can become involved in the practice of mindfulness that we embarked on a months-long study of this trendy new practice that has resulted in a lot more than just another blog. It became a new book entitled, A Catholic Guide to Mindfulness.
Available only on Kindle until the hard copy is published at the end of the month, this short and easy-to-understand guide gives the reader a broad view of the subject from the lens of a seasoned reporter. I apply the same questions to this subject as I do to all the other New Age and occult movements that are researched here – what is it, where does it come from, what does the science reveal, and what does the Church say about it?
Be prepared to be as surprised as I was!
This book explains it all, from what mindfulness is to how it is practiced and exactly where it comes from – the Buddha himself (and in his own words).
Many of you wondered how it became so popular in the United States. In order to answer that question, I delved into the writings of the pioneer of modern-day mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and the spiritual experiences he had that led him to devise a program known as the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR). This program combines science and mindfulness for use with those suffering from stress-related disorders and spawned similar programs that are being used to treat everything from learning disorders to addictions.
Since the introduction of MBSR several decades ago, it has become the “go to” method of therapy for a variety of ills with scores of studies alleging its effectiveness. But just how sound were these studies, and how many have shown negative rather than positive effects?
Many Catholics are being introduced to mindfulness through their therapists and some are taking it up just to help them focus on daily life. Some are even integrating mindfulness meditation techniques into their prayer life. What does the Church have to say about this? And could it be possible that Catholicism has something even more effective to help the faithful stay focused on the present? (...)
Mindfulness has come a long way from its days as an obscure Buddhist meditation technique known only to monks and a few New Age enthusiasts to what it is now—one of the hottest new spiritual practices of our day.
It’s being used by people of all ages, from all walks of life, for everything from gaining self-awareness and inner calm to treating PTSD and other anxiety disorders. Corporate executives, Hollywood stars, medical doctors, teachers, secretaries, and even clergy are avidly embracing it. But what exactly is this practice? Where does it come from and how did it become so popular, so fast? And what about all the media hype surrounding its much-publicized effectiveness for our mental health and well-being?
Even more important, is this practice compatible with Catholicism? A Catholic Guide to Mindfulness attempts to answer these questions in a concise but compelling expose of one of the most intriguing psycho-spiritual movements of our time.