Many commentators have been taken aback by the seemingly unstoppable rise of the ‘mindfulness revolution’ that has arisen over the past decade. The aim of the day is to reflect on the nature of mindfulness, especially as perceived from its Buddhist roots and how this may (or may not) relate to the wider tradition of Christian prayer. I shall argue that far from a foreign import mindfulness is not only endemic but essential to the Christian understanding of how the human person relates to the divine. The day will cover the roots of mindfulness in Buddhist and contemporary terms. There will be discussion of the Christian contemplative tradition and some contemporary applications of the same drawing on present practice operating in India, as well as some simple mindfulness exercises from the Christian tradition.
Peter Tyler is Professor of Pastoral Theology and Spirituality at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, a UKCP registered psychotherapist, and Director of St Mary’s research centre InSpiRe. His books cover many subjects including psychotherapy and spiritual direction, Christian spirituality and the mystical tradition. His Christian Mindfulness: Theology and Practice is published by Canterbury-SCM press.