It seems people are all-abuzz about mindfulness – especially if you’re in your 20s and 30s. After several conversations about how helpful it can be, I am now half-way through an eight-week programme introducing me to the fundamentals. And it is impressive. I am learning to unpick the tangle of my physical, emotional and mental responses to everyday life. I am aware, for example, of how a twinge in my hip leads to sad feelings about getting old – with my mind jumping within seconds to worry about how my children will cope when I die. So I now try to accept that twinge for what it is … a twinge!
But why do we find it so hard to be present in the moment? Perhaps it’s decades of a culture which privileges strategic thinking: no individual, church or organisation is complete without a five-year plan. Or perhaps it’s the hyper-connectivity of the internet that teaches our minds to leapfrog about between the past and future? Certainly, the psychology of mindfulness really works. I am already more at ease with myself and the world around me.
But, in the programme I’m following, I’m left wondering where God is. I’ve decided to complete the eight weeks before puzzling this one out. I suspect it will take me back to the age-old wisdom of Christian mystics. To “capax Dei” – making the space for God at the centre of our lives (rather than our own preoccupations). To unconditional faith in Christ. To resting in “God-fulness”.
The Revd Poppy Hughes, Rector of the Benefice of Tetbury, Beverston, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne and the Benefice of Avening with Cherington