Stopping to smell the flowers is a term we are all familiar with, but how many of us have taken the time to actually ponder its spiritual significance?
Our lives today are often lived at such a frenetic pace that the incessant activity of our minds ensures that the present moment is being lost within the busyness.
Even during those rare moments of physical quietness our mental state is often hijacked by regrets and hurts from the past or worries about the future. Our cerebral hyperactivity can be one of the greatest barriers in discovering who we truly are.
By not allowing our minds to ever be at rest we will never be able to live the fullness of life that Jesus promised us.
Even within secular society there is a growing awareness of our failure to embrace the here and now. A movement within the field of psychology, known as “Mindfulness”, appears to be gathering momentum.
Mindfulness is not a new concept and can be identified in ancient Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism, Taoism and Yoga, but it has gained recognition in recent decades by its marriage with modern principles of psychotherapy.
The motivation behind practitioners who endorse this hybrid discipline vary widely, but, in general, they seek to utilise meditative techniques so that proponents are able to become conscious of the thought patterns that hinder their ability to embrace the present moment.
On a surface level Mindfulness appears to be a useful tool in recognising the deeper issues that can often condition one’s thought processes, but as with most secular movements, it fails to delve into the spiritual roots that are often at the core of our inability to discover our true identity.
In the practice of Mindfulness, the client is firstly trained to acknowledge the plethora of thoughts that sabotage their focus on the present.
However the problem lies in stage two of the process which has them consciously step outside all mental activity and observe it as an unattached bystander.
The theory behind this is that any self-destructive or distracting thoughts will eventually extinguish themselves once they are starved of acknowledgement.
But this process, I believe, equates to placing a band-aid on a tumour. When we fail to face the painful memories in our lives, those that have moulded us, both consciously and unconsciously, through fear, distrust and unforgiveness, then we do not allow ourselves the opportunity to attain our maximum potential.
It is only through the process of forgiveness that we are able to recognise who we truly are.
It is only then that we are able to break down the walls of hurt that we have been hiding behind and rediscover the person that God created.
But, unlike the process of Mindfulness, which tries to dismiss the painful realities of our memories, as Christians, we are called to confront them.
We must acknowledge them as factors that have shaped us into the person we are today, but we must also understand that, through the graces offered to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection, it does not have to be the person that we will always have to be.
We are products of our past but we are not meant to be prisoners of it.
The process of forgiveness begins when we quieten our minds.
It is then that we will be able to, not only face the hurts of our past, but also be open to the guidance of God. This is when we will discover our true identity in Him.
And only then will we be able to truly appreciate, just what a beautiful flower that is.