In her recent blog post Has Mindfulness Supplanted Thoughtfulness?, Amy Julia Becker suggests that our preoccupation with mindfulness—as benevolent as the term might sound—may only be deepening the roots of our individual and collective narcissism: “In a self-consumed culture, I want to be careful that I am paying attention to my self and this moment only in the service of love.”
What does it look like to “practice mindfulness?” In efforts to be “mindful,” some of us carve out times of day when we silence our phones, decreasing our hectic dependence on their constant chiming and chatter. Others meditate or practice contemplative prayer. We say we are “mindful” of nutrition and exercise as we carefully design diets free of grain, high-fructose corn syrup, and GMOs. We are mindful of our homes and wardrobes as we declutter, following the edicts of our new favorite diversion: “kondoing.” But, as Alicia Cohn asks, “Will my quest for simplicity free me up to obey God, serve others, pursue a calling?”
To live “mindfully” is to live with intention and to focus on the present moment. Right here; right now.
Being deliberate about to what we focus on, possess, and consume can help us live healthier, more balanced lives. Yet, Becker warns, “Mindfulness of myself could easily replace thoughtfulness toward others.”
Her words echoed in my mind as I read The Way of Tea and Justice by Becca Stevens. An Episcopal chaplain at Vanderbilt University, Stevens founded and runs a both a residential recovery community for women as well as two small businesses that support women who have survived sexual trafficking and addiction. ...1
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