What is the first thing that pops into your brain when you hear the word "Mindfulness"? Is it Buddhism or New Age philosophy? If you are a Christian in the business world, you may be wondering if you should consider the practice of mindfulness. What is mindfulness and is it incompatible with Christian teachings? According to Websters dictionary, "Mindfulness is the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmentalstate of heightened awareness of ones thoughts, emotions, or experience on a moment-to-moment basis...".
Meditation plays a role in mindfulness. The thought of meditation alone may conjure a vision of one sitting cross-legged on the floor, in lotus position. However, meditation and mindfulness can be used as general terms that have no religious affiliation. Both are practicedwith great success, regardless of ones spiritual beliefs. Lets take a look at how a Christian might practice mindfulness in the business world, but first, here is a partial definition of meditation from Psychology today, "...Meditation means turning your attention away from distracting thoughts and focusing on the present moment...".
Who wouldn't want to practice the art of mindfulness? In this modern world with our advanced technology, constant communications, and human interaction, our minds can be as cluttered as our e-mail inbox. If we don't purge on a regular basis, we won't be of use to anybody. In the business world, we want to be sharp, present, and have space to allow creativity to flourish.
We are more creative when we are in a relaxed state of being. Nervous anxiety robs us of precious oxygen. Mindful breathing allows our brains to use oxygen efficiently, which increases brain power. When meditating, we can focus on our breathing, our body, or a passage of scripture. Our bodies are a temple of God, according to Christian teachings from the bible. As such, appreciating our lungs, our health, and the ability to take a deep breath in and out, is one way to incorporate your Christian faith into practicing mindfulness. If one were a Christian, they might practice by taking 10 minutes away from their desk to sit quietly and meditate on God. All of us want to cleanse our minds, by removing the meaningless clutter and cares of this world. One could pray for the gifts of creativity and innovation. Buddhism says you must empty the mind, whereas, a Christian may desire to fill the mind with God and all his wonders.
Compartmentalization can be a negative term, however, it may play a small role in mindfulness. It is impossible to be present in your business if 100 future menial tasks are forever popping into your brain. Thoughts of grocery shopping, baking a cake, sending a birthday card, or mowing the lawn, very quickly remove us from our present situation. A Christian, in that situation, could pray and ask God to help them set those things aside for now. Those tasks and future commitments have no right to rob your brain of creative space and precious energy for the immediate state of being. You will get the occasional phone call from home or other distractions and we should all be mindful in those situations too. If you start to feel your mind slip away in thoughts of mundane chores, mindfulness will help you put those things aside for now. Christian teachings say- "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own", Matthew 6:34.
Mindfulness will take some practice and self-control. I am told, that in Christianity, self-control is considered to be a gift from the Holy Spirit imparted to the believer. We can never foresee what each new day will bring and thankfully we don't need to. We always have a general agenda, however, things will never go 100% the way we envision. According to the Christian, God is in control. Knowing that should help them to stay present and relieve their anxiety.
Whether you are Buddhist, Christian, or Agnostic, mindfulness is a practice that can improve your life. Practicing mindfulness will stabilize your emotions, sharpen your focus, and get your creative juices flowing. For the Christian, if you are intentional, practicing mindfulness in business will not compromise your Christian walk, in fact if practiced correctly, mindfulness has the potential to sharpen your faith and elevate your business ventures, whatever they may be!