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Posted by Matt Postiff July 10, 2020 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Theology  Society  Bible Texts 

In our area in the past few years, it has become a thing for schools to promote "mindfulness." Immediately upon hearing what the students do during their "mindfulness" times in class, it sounded suspect. I was disturbed by the thinly veiled attempt to get a religious position into the secular classroom while the school system rejects Christianity and makes every attempt to get God out of the schools.

One of our deacons helped me by writing the following after he read a book by a Buddhist monk on the topic.

Mindfulness is a new word for meditation that was invented to help get meditation accepted in more places. It is a less religious, hippy sounding word.

Even though mindfulness is claimed to be non-religious, it smells a lot of Buddhism, and not surprisingly, Buddhists tend to be the topic experts on it.

The main idea of mindfulness is to become aware of your own thoughts. On the surface this idea of self awareness looks similar to the truth of introspection. This similarity to a good mental exercise sweetens the underlying poison of mindfulness. The Bible talks about introspection: 2 Corinthians 13:5—"examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith," Psalm 19:12—believers want to be aware of secret faults, Ephesians 5:15 speaks about walking circumspectly, which includes turning our eyes on ourselves, Prov 4:23—"keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life," and 1 Peter 1:13—"be sober minded."

However, mindfulness differs fundamentally from biblical introspection in that it is non-judgmental, detached, and OK with all thoughts, whether good or bad. The mindfulness book likens meditation to sitting beside a road and watching cars drive by, where the cars are your thoughts. You let the cars go by (the good and the bad ones) and don't try to chase the good ones or stop the bad ones. You just sit and watch your thoughts and study them to become more aware of them. Over time, the busy traffic gets less busy and you enjoy more peace and quiet. Eventually there are times when no cars drive by.

Mindfulness claims there exists an underlying peace and joy that is always present for us to enjoy. We just have to clear our thoughts to find it. Mindfulness thereby replaces the idea of ultimate peace and joy that comes from our relationship with God.

By claiming that thoughts and feelings are autonomous, mindfulness excuses guilt, and convolutes the idea of identity and personhood (similar to the way atheism does by denying free will).

Mindfulness strives to create a perception that things are OK, whether they are good or bad or nothing at all. This sounds a lot like the Buddhist effort to numb the fear of death and to numb the craving for meaning in life. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has put eternity in our heart, yet no one can find out the work of God from beginning to end. In other words, God has put in our hearts a yearning for eternity and meaningfulness. Buddhism deceives by numbing that yearning in the heart.

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