Unspirited Mindfulness: Incomplete Connection

          I receive an online newsletter called “Sounds True”. I look at it from time to time to get the drift of what’s being peddled by the popular culture as “Truth” to ears that want to be tickled…… today it offered a free video by a renowned Zen master called Thay on mindfulness as a means to being present to others.  He said that the object of meditation is to connect mind and body so that one may be fully present to those we love.   Most all of these online pop psych newsletters or blogs are marketing ploys to sell you someone’s idea of the best new way to solve whatever problem you have….. generally physical, financial, relational, or psychological, but sometimes spiritual, too.  Everyone is selling something. “Monetizing” their online content, they call it. They probe with “teases” to see what appeals to you, then they slam you with all the products they have that meet that perceived need or desire.  It’s gotten pretty laughable and sad at the same time.
           This free Zen master’s wisdom was a repeat of an old online canard I’ve heard a dozen times in a variety of settings.  He used it to pitch the value of using breathing meditation to “connect” one’s body and mind to be fully present to oneself and to others to communicate our love.

           Now I’ve just got to tell you that mindful focusing on meditative or somatic (physical) means alone to bring about wholeness while connecting only 2 of one’s 3 parts is altogether not Christian.  It may lead one to think she has found “unity” when what she is doing is giving access to her body and soul, by way of an untethered state of other parts of her soul, in which the mind resides along with one’s emotions, will, personality, and conscience.  Where is the third component of one’s “self” in this….her spirit…. and these other elements of her soul?  Without conscious inclusion of all of one’s soul as well as one’s spirit, along with the guard of the Holy Spirit within herself, she may be inadvertently entering into a realm of spirits that can deceive or even destroy untethered aspects of herself.   Or one may be giving spirits from that realm access to parts of herself. This practice, called “mindfulness”, is soooooooo NOT a Christian meditative activity. It’s not even a holistic practice that brings long- term beneficial therapeutic value for one’s body or mind that is not “at ease” (or dis-eased). It is a counterfeit of true holistic healing practice, a band-aid, at best.
           That’s the thing about counterfeits.   They sound true. They may look like the real thing.  They may even make you happy and give you what you think you need.   But eventually they will fail you and be seen for what they truly are……. inadequate at best and deceptive, dangerous, and destructive at worst. Don’t buy or give cheap imitations.
But seek FIRST the things of the spiritual connectedness of your spirit to God’s Holy Spirit  (which is “the kingdom of God” within your own “Self”) and the right way of living that flows from that, and all these other benefits you are seeking will come to you. Matthew 6:33
Don’t buy ( or trust) the wisdom of your own heart or mind. The only way any of us can be truly present and known to one another is by the assurance of the Holy Spirit’s presence within us.
Luke 17:20-21
New Century Version
God’s Kingdom Is Within You
20 Some of the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the kingdom of God come?”
Jesus answered, “God’s kingdom is coming, but not in a way that you will be able to see with your eyes. 21 People will not say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ because God’s kingdom is within you.”  ( sometimes translated as “among you”.)

In the case of the Pharisees, Jesus’ engagement with them made it clear they were interpreting it as “ among” them and resented his implication that he was the One who would usher it in… The Messiah.   In the case of his disciples the Holy Spirit (sent by the Father) moved among them to bring them to faith and the understanding that the kingdom of God truly WAS “among” them first…… that Christ was indeed ushering in the kingdom for them all and everyone else to enter. Then after his Resurrection, Ascension, and with Pentecost they came to understand that it truly was “within” them, given to them as a permanent abiding Presence because of their faith in him as Lord and Savior.  Prior to that point, as observed in the OT the Holy Spirit came and went, was upon those whom for God had a particular purpose.  When we come to know God by faith in Jesus Christ we all come to know that we are God’s children and that we are created to fulfill his purpose……. and we do.