by Pastor Cindy Senarighi RN
Scripture ~ “[but] everything exposed by the light becomes visible,for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, God says, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:13-14
Spiritual Focus ~ “Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., scientist, meditation teacher, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Breath Prayer ~ Be light
Devotion ~ When light exposes our imperfections, we feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, shameful or guilty, anxious, or even worse. None of us like to be awakened to our own personal shortcomings nor to our collective failures as part of a faith community. Many times, we want to look to someone else to pick up the slack or, like the ostrich, simply bury our head in the sand.
In fact, in 2016 a 53-year-old man from Ohio did just that—buried his head in the sand! Admittedly, this man had worked as a digital tech CEO for giant companies like Nike, Disney, and Walmart so held enough socioeconomic privilege to be able to “check out” and commit to a simpler lifestyle. He established a technology and media “blockade” and abstained from TV, constant news cycles, and social media, allowing himself only a small, cutout portion of the newspaper for the weather report and watching his favorite sports teams on mute. Two years later, he consented to an interview, provided that the interviewer agreed to his blockade rules. While the man admitted he had come to enjoy boredom and simple routines, he felt the nudge and moral obligation to do something good for society. While walking one day, he landed on the idea of creating a lake. Working with an environmental architect, he turned an old mining hole into a lake as a public space for people to enjoy. His hope was that people would feel renewed and return to their everyday lives more mindful of what they were doing.
Thankfully, there are many simpler and less expensive mindfulness practices than this man’s example! A favorite one this time of year is walking mindfully, barefoot, in the grass. Mindfulness, regardless of whatever specific practice you may choose, is simply being conscious, aware, and awake in the moment. Many mystics, spiritual leaders, and gurus report that when they are in the sacred space of consciousness, a light warms them from within and shines out from them for the world to see. As people of faith we are called to be awake. We can walk mindfully and find a balance between the extreme ideas of burying our head in the sand or being addicted to the news cycles. Mindfulness practices give us the ability to be awake and discerning, aware of the light of Christ within us and how our light shines in the world.