On Spiritual Mindfulness
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock." — Matthew 7:24-25
Busyness slowly creeps in and weaves its hold on the everyday walk of our lives. We are inundated with endless things to do. Unconsciously, to cope we seek the comfort of patterns and familiarity. Some days, the transition from the moment we open our eyes to the moment we close them happens so quickly—we blink and it’s over. All the moments moved through rather than experienced. We are physically present but oftentimes our minds are moving on to the next thing happening. The antidote to the weariness we experience while living at maximum capacity is the building in of habits and practices that allow us to be intentional and slow down in the midst of everything we do.
The same antidote is needed when we enter circumstances in which we feel spiritually depleted. The days become filled, and staying present spiritually can slip away just as easily as the days that pass by in a blink. In these moments we are even more reliant on the consolation of familiar patterns. Spiritual habits and practices strengthen our ability to be spiritually present. The parable of the wise and foolish builder in Matthew 7 comes to mind. The wise man built his house on the rock, a foundation that left his house intact when the storms came. The foolish man built his house upon the sand and when the rains came all was lost.
Spiritual habits are a foundation, and like the wise builder, our daily practice of these habits establishes a firm foundation for our lives. Practicing spiritual mindfulness allows us to pause amid the chaos around us and be intentional. By building in mindful rhythms when our days feel steady and stable we will be supported through seasons in which our rhythms may be thrown into disarray. When the grueling hustle becomes all-consuming, our foundation will protect what was built.
Healthy rhythms such as prayer, worship, reading scripture, and meditation become an anchor in the uproar. These practices are not meant to be goals or check marks on our to-do list. They are breaths of fresh air in the stagnant air of a whirlwind world. They become the point of tether, keeping us grounded and bringing us back to the comfort of truth.
Spiritual mindfulness is not about the practice, it is about the presence. When we are present, we are grounded and attentive—more sensitive to God’s presence. Moments of quiet contemplation, of slowing down allow us to rest in the company of our Creator as we move through the situations around us. When we recognize God’s presence, our posture will be planted in the soil of the good things of God. Gratitude, faithfulness, love, mercy, and patience have roots to grow within us. The habits built into daily living create something new within us. They allow us to be open to God’s movement in us and through us. The wise builder was able to withstand the storm because of the work done in the calm before the storm.
When we live spiritually present, we are able to hold on to the truth of God’s character and the promises of God’s word. The world around us may spin endlessly in the direction of urgency and rush—to do rather than be. Yet, God is ever-present and stable in the commotion and the calm. “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” (Psalms 46: 10). If we are truly still, we can truly know God and the power of God’s faithful love over our lives. Instead of these truths being the emergency contingency plan, they can be fully integrated into the very being of who we are, never wavering.
Words: Mary Taylor
Paintings: Paul Blenkhorn