|Photo by Flickr from Pexels|
Over the past few years, I've been fascinated and disturbed by the false assumptions made by many people of faith and many secular mindfulness teachers.
To give just a couple of examples:
- a secular teacher was quite dismissive about Christian parents objecting to their kids saying 'Namaste' at the end of yoga practice (update: a day after posting this, I saw an interesting perspective on cultural appropriation of 'namaste');
- a Christian blogger got very upset that "Breathe" by Jonny Diaz was referred to as a mindfulness song. She insisted that it can't really be a mindfulness song because it's Christian. (It's a lovely song, by the way. I included it on the All About the Breath playlist and the Sign Language playlist.)
The truth is, some people practice mindfulness (and complementary practice like yoga) in an entirely secular way. Others have a faith-based approach to mindfulness. And many people derive the same benefits from prayer and traditional religious practices.
Whenever tensions are running high, it might be useful to let go of the term “mindfulness” and focus on “contemplative practices,” instead. I think we can all agree that contemplation is possible in either a secular or religious context.
The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society created this wonderful Tree of Contemplative Practices to show the many different ways we can tap into our inner wisdom.