Katherine Thompson, practising psychologist and academic, is Australia’s Christian mindfulness expert. She draws on the rich Christian tradition to present Christian mindfulness exercises which help us slow down, connect to what is happening inside ourselves and make space to listen for God’s guidance in everyday life.
Being Still in Nature
There is nothing better than sitting on a cliff at the beach looking out over the sea. It offers a vantage point where you can take in the entirety of your surroundings, and observe the colour and drama of a coastline. You can smell and taste the salt in the sea air. If you close your eyes you can listen to the rhythmic sound of the waves pounding the sand, and the call of the birds carried by the wind.
Connect to the Spirit of God
Find a place where you can be still in nature. If you can’t escape the urban environment, take some time to sit in your garden, or go for a walk in a local park.
Notice what you can see.
What colours, textures, and shapes are around you? With an attitude of curiosity, really notice the trees, grass, and plants around you. Notice the weather and the sky.
Notice what you can hear.
Are there any birds making a noise? Can you hear the wind in the trees? What other sounds can you hear?
Notice what you can taste.
If you open your mouth slightly, can you taste anything in the air?
Notice what you can smell.
Pick something up and hold it to your nose. What does the object smell like? Can you smell anything else around you?
Notice what you can touch.
What temperature is it? What does it feel like when the sun is shining on you and the wind is brushing past you? What can you feel around you, such as the grass, the ground, the bark on the trees?
Continue to fully connect with the things around you and try to focus on just being open and observing these things. If you start thinking about something, simply notice you are doing this, and bring your focus back to connecting to your surroundings.
Finish your time by reading a Psalm – like Psalm 104 below – and praising God.
Psalm 104:1-4, 24-25, 27-35
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honour and majesty,
wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your chariot,
you ride on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds your messengers,
fire and flame your ministers.
O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
creeping things innumerable are there,
living things both small and great.
These all look to you
to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works —
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!
Katherine Thompson, practising psychologist and academic, is Australia’s Christian mindfulness expert. Christ-Centred Mindfulness is available at Koorong.