What is the position on Mindfulness?

Hi, this is my first post. Just doing a rain-check on what the view is of “mindfulness”? I’ve heard it suggested as useful for several reasons, including for mental health reasons. But I’ve also heard contradictory views, including that it’s really out of the question for Catholics as it originates in a non-Christian religion. I have heard that Mother Angelica once made the comment about mindfulness that “We all drag our carcass to market”, no idea what Mother really meant but it could be seen that mindfulness could uncover things in our minds that are best left alone. Just wondering what people’s thoughts are? Thanks.

Mindfulness is just another word for a way to focus on inward thoughts in order to get a result. As mother Angelica suggested, it would not be helpful for someone suffering from scruples.

Yes, there are many Easter religions that practice “mindfulness” but you could also argue that there are many saints who practiced–and even perfected–this practice with different types of meditation.

There is nothing new under the sun, and it’s almost a guarantee there’s a saint who has tried it before.

Thanks,so it is probably OK as long as you don’t go down the route of non-Christian religions and you don’t have a problem such as scrupulosity that mindfulness would make worse?

With scruples, many things are off the table. Meditation, repetitive prayer and true repentance are among those.

If you’re interested in mindfulness and are unsure about it there’s nothing wrong with examining how non-Christian religions make it work. If there’s a particular practice that really appeals to you then I promise you can find a Saint who has done something similar.

Look at Mantras. They are phrases that you repeat over and over to focus your mind. The Catholic church has (the rather unfortunately named) ejaculations.

One neat mindful meditation that I loved in college was Lectio Divina, it’s best done with spiritual guidance but can be mind blowing.

My reasons for looking into it were various, my main concern was making sure it was OK faith-wise. One reason was it was suggested it was useful for people looking into personal development, for example with things like “emotional intelligence”, becoming more aware of oneself. Looking into things like “Why am I reacting to X in this way?” and using that to deal with things better.

Weren’t “ejaculations” re-named as “aspirations” because of the unfortunate connotation of the original name?

Being aware of how you are feeling, the thoughts you are having, and how your body is responding to different situations is pretty important and a powerful tool in ones spiritual arsenal.

Using the example of sexual purity; one person may be able to look at a scantily clad model in an advertisement and have no reaction while for another that would cause an immediate biological response and temptation. Practicing mindfullness would allow one to objectively see where they fall.

I think the problem is when people take the lack of judgement that needs to occur when practicing mindfullness and extent it to never making a judgement call on their behavior. Once one realizes that they are engaging in harmful behavior the mindfullness needs to end and a course correction done.

HAHA they very well could have been. I remember them from the list in the good ol’ Baltimore Catechism.

I think your pursuit is a very noble one. There are many saints that displayed the desire to understand themselves in order to understand others. Hopefully, other posters can identify them for you.

If you want to do some serious reading, here is some Church guidance:

Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation

(prepared by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now known as Pope Benedict XVI)

It’s comprehensive, which is to say it is long but it says practically everything that can be said. Here are a few excerpts:

The majority of the great religions which have sought union with God in prayer have also pointed out ways to achieve it. Just as “the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions,” neither should these ways be rejected out of hand simply because they are not Christian. On the contrary, one can take from them what is useful so long as the Christian conception of prayer, its logic and requirements are never obscured.

and

… one has to interpret correctly the teaching of those masters who recommend “emptying” the spirit of all sensible representations and of every concept, while remaining lovingly attentive to God. In this way, the person praying creates an empty space which can then be filled by the richness of God. … On this topic St. Augustine is an excellent teacher: if you want to find God, he says, abandon the exterior world and re-enter into yourself. However, he continues, do not remain in yourself, but go beyond yourself because you are not God: He is deeper and greater than you…

I am not sure if that relates to mindfulness. If I missed the point, I apologize.

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A good reminder not to take God out of the equation!

As mentioned by a previous poster it an be used to help work out what can lead us into sin, and something akin to mindfulness has already proved useful to me in that respect.

Fulton Sheen wrote an article on it. I like it but I don’t go in for all the Eastern mumbo jumbo.

Agreed, that side of things is a turn-off :grin:

I affirm RandomAlias standpoint. The document he presented is one in which Catholic groups in my area ought to read for a phasis to reforms. The former parish priest and I agreed that they are a scandal and ought to be avoided.

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