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The Energy of Mindfulness

Written By Renée Miller

What's going on in your mind right now? Perhaps as you do a quick mental scan you'll notice that your mind is racing around all sorts of topics:  the new project your boss wants you to take on, what time to pick your child up from soccer, why your buddy is getting a divorce, that inaccurate bill you need to straighten out. Or, perhaps you'll notice that your mind is fixated on one thing that is very important to you at this moment. You might be thinking about your role in an upcoming meeting, or reliving a tender moment with your spouse, or replaying an argument you had with a co-worker, or reinforcing the need to turn down the thermostat before you leave the house.

The concept of mindfulness that is written about so widely these days is sometimes superficially tied to the idea of living in the moment. But mindfulness is not a superficial concept; it is meant to help us recognize that it is only in this moment that we can be truly alive, that when we exercise attentiveness and awareness in this moment, we are given the capacity to be brought into the presence of the Holy One right now.  

Thich Nhat Hanh takes this concept even deeper in his teachings found at:



He reminds us that mindfulness is a kind of energy—a root mental formation— wherein the present moment becomes the only thing we hold in our mind. A simple example of this might be how focused and concentrated we become when we get a call from home asking us to pick up a loaf of bread on our way from work. We hold the bread in our mind until we get to the store and purchase it.  

The Good News translation of Proverbs 4:23 says, "Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts." The mind is limitless, and we may sometimes feel that we are hopeless and hapless victims of its whims. Mindfulness in its broader context helps us see that the power of our minds is also the power of our souls. That what we hold in our mind affects what we hold in our souls. When our mind is still, our soul can become still. When our mind is attentive and aware, our soul is attentive and aware.  

What are you holding in your mind right now? In this moment, what are you holding in your mind? Be sure that whatever you are holding in your mind right now is also a part of the texture of what is being held in your soul.