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.
The Spirit of God, as breath or wind, is a life force that sustains all living things. To breathe, means to remind ourselves that we are alive because of God whose breath has filled our lungs. Every breath we take fills us with the breath of life.
This simple exercise will settle your soul
Enjoying the world around you is easy. Just ask my cat
You can be breathing better in just one minute
The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’ … (Acts 17:24-28).
Connect to your breath
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Start this exercise by sitting in a comfortable position with your eyes closed.
Notice what you can feel
Gently bring your focus to your breathing. Do not try to change your breathing, just notice the natural rise and fall of your chest as you breathe in and out. Take a few slow, deep breaths. Then try to slowly push all the air out of your lungs until they are completely empty. Your body will kick in with a reflex, naturally refilling your lungs. Let this happen without trying to control the refilling process.
Repeat these steps again, up to ten times. Each time, slowly breathe out then let your lungs refill themselves.
As you breathe you will notice your mind distracting you. When this happens, gently redirect your focus back to your breathing. To finish this exercise, slowly open your eyes and reorientate yourself to your surroundings.
Katherine Thompson, practising psychologist and academic, is Australia’s Christian mindfulness expert. Christ-Centred Mindfulness is available at Koorong.