Mindfulness & Faith
Chapter 1: Does DBT Fit In A World Of Faith?
I’ve spent the past couple of months authoring a lot of literature on the subjects of Mindfulness and DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). I have been able to dig into many different avenues, take, the many tools that I’ve learned, and applied them in my everyday life. I have not touched on the Faith and Spirituality side of Mindfulness, and that topic is one I wanted to started writing on with this piece today. Faith fits into the realm of both Mindfulness and DBT, as smooth as the final piece to a jigsaw puzzle.
For myself, and many others, Faith, Spirituality, God and or Religion have all been great options that have helped those who suffer from addiction and mental health tremendously. For those who don’t consider adding those things to their journey and struggle may want to consider it down the road.
Mindfulness puts many things into a world of clarity for us, and can help us really channel our understanding of the here, the now, and the moments we are living on a literal day to day basis. We hunt to find all these different meaning, but we often forget how much of an importance it could be, to become presently mindful to what some Faith can do for us.
Mindfulness in the spiritual moments, can fuel our faith, which may had once been a faith without it’s full strength. We ask ourselves about it, we tell ourselves things and wonder how could a loving God allow such a dark road to exist. Yet we don’t question God or thank him, when our practices of
Mindfulness gives our eye and minds an enlightening perspective to the blessing we have the privilege of receiving, day to day, hour to hour. There is much that can’t be explained by science, potentially being proof of faith.
Faith and God also fit into Mindfulness in the sense it presents of understanding the events around us, from the largest event down to the smallest. When we look at why there is struggle in this world, we may fail to see the true meaning behind that struggle. It’s that struggle, that gives us the sense and understanding of the strength of the value that accompanies life.
There is much out there that only faith carries the answer for. It’s the combination of Faith, DBT, and Mindfulness that together, that trio may help us find those answers that we’ve been unable to find.
It’s become clear through much research that spirituality, faith, and a belief in the existence of a Higher Power can greatly improve many areas of health, both physical health, as well as mental and emotional health.
If we are able to remain in a mindful state, in regards to just how those things are working for us in the present moment, we may find that it is best to take a regular amount of faith that we have, and turn it into a mindful faith, it will become much more clear to us as to just how much God is really doing for us. This gives us a chance to change our thinking and perspective about God. For example; many of us think of God on a long term timeline in our lives, wondering when we will die, where will we be in 20 years, will we have a successful retirement, etc etc.
Once we apply our mindfulness practice, we begin to embrace God on a much more in depth,and whole type of level. As stated before, we start to get the chance to see God, speak to God, and embrace, with the details drawing a whole new perspective our faith and a higher power.
This has been a first look at God, spirituality, higher power, faith, and mindfulness, and all the connections between and within. A second article will be coming soon, to continue the discussion on this enlightening, and embracing topic.
We are starting to see just how much mindfulness there is, in the world of Faith.
Chapter 2: Looking Further
So, we’ve begun to take a first hand look to see how I could intertwine Mindfulness and Faith together, and see if we could learn to see how, or if, the two could relate.
We learned that Mindfulness could be the magnifying glass into the world of faith. When things happen, that science can’t explain, it’s a mystery.
Mindfulness is the tool that gives us perspectives and clarity into those mysteries, and help us to begin seeing the presence of faith, even though, faith itself is invisible. Mindfulness can help us see what isn’t there. Because though we can’t see faith, we certainly CAN see faith’s results, work, and influence, and miracles.
Mindfulness allows us to begin seeing God and his work, on a much more present day approach. We realize that we often, present God to ourselves as a God who works on a longer term level. We see that God is present every day, and every hour. Faith allows us to see and experience that God’s working for us by the minute, not by the decades.
He’s just as present moment to moment, second to second, as he is upon our birth, and death.
With that realization, we begin to become more apt to speak to God more often, in whatever type of way we see fit. With our mindfulness and faith reminding us of God’s permanent presence, we begin to be more apt to ask God for help, when we had once suffered and struggled alone. Mindfulness teaches us that when we suffered alone, we weren’t really alone.
Our neglect of faith, blinded us to the fact that God’s hand was reaching; we just didn’t reach our own hands to him.
We finally learn that God either alongside us, or carrying us. We should speak to and reach for him in times of crisis, because it’s what he wants. Remain mindful that it’s no higher power’s preference to watch someone struggle.
In crisis, in loss, in weakening physical health, in unstabilized mental health, we need to allow faith to guide us back to solid ground.
When we yearn for sobriety and recovery, it may seem that God is further than ever. It’s really our mindfulness that’s the furthest from us. Defeating addiction is by no means an instant miracle that comes from God snapping his fingers. Defeating addiction is a much larger picture.
Iit absolutely needs faith, a higher power and God. With that road being so difficult and brutal, it’s journey involves the potential for learning some of the most rewarding lessons about everything. Lessons about ourselves, God, honesty, trust, unconditional love, loyalty, an appreciation of family, the potential power faith can offer, and just simply doing the right thing, whether someone’s watching you, or not. A journey of that caliber, requires more then just faith and prayer.
God’s plan will require many more components, like therapeutic treatment, medication, doctors, therapists, social workers, a willingness to change, letting go of past demons, self forgiveness, a return to honesty with others and with self.
The most beautiful things the world has to offer, rarely come without sacrifice or long hard lessons. Learn appreciation the hard way. It’ll then become even harder for you to lose it.
Mindfulness allows us a chance to learn and experience another competent, and that is Spirituality. It’s a way of life, that comes to shine, once an awareness of Faith is natural to us.
Mindfulness brings a stronger grip on God, Faith, Higher Power & Spirituality. From those, there can then be even another step. A step to Meditation.
Merriam Webster dictionary officially defines Mediation as “to engage in contemplation or reflection. To engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.”
Let us reflect on that concise, clear definition of Meditation, as it will be the subject of Meditation that kicks off part 3 of this Mindfulness Faith Series. It will also be the last part as we conclude it by learning about Meditation, Togetherness, Community, Helping Others, Unconditional Love & Loyalty.
Chapter 3: Meditation As A Tool Of Sobriety
We have touched on many points of connections between Mindfulness and Faith. We see it provide strength & foundation to areas. Now, let’s discuss its connection to Meditation, personal needs, charity, a sense of togetherness, and solidarity within a Community. We must continue to remember that Mindfulness brings a stronger grip on God, Faith, Higher Power & Spirituality.
First, there’s meditation. We learned earlier in this series that Merriam Webster dictionary defines Mediation as “to engage in contemplation or reflection. To engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.”
The definition has a Mindfulness influence. Without mindfulness, meditation would even be possible. Both of those relate to a sense of pure, uninterrupted self reflection. The concentration is required to have a meditation isn’t nearly as possible if we weren’t able to get to a mental level required.
Mindfulness provides the gateway to that level. Bringing us out of the distractions around us, giving us that boost to be one with self, faith, and God.
The relation between Meditation and prayer is clear. They’re siblings in a Mindfulness world. Even though prayer is possible at any time, any place, whether loud, quiet, crowded, or an empty. However, it’s finding that private when we are 1on1 with our faith, where it can be easier to truly talk to God. We are in tune with a combination of several things, working towards one goal. We can’t find successful meditation and prayer level, without first developing solid skills of mindfulness.
Meditation, is achieved through many things; calming the body, through deep, mindful breathing, generating emotions feelings and thoughts that are positive & a happy concentration, welcoming faith and God to our meditation. All religions involve and practice some type of meditation.
My research showed Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism & Buddhism all welcome it. So much so, that I will be devoting an entire article on specifics of those religions and meditation in a future post.
Most religions these days have support networks, have charities, and support those suffering from mental health and addiction problems.
A majority of the religion believe in a mindfulness based theory on issues behind, and creating, those problems. In reality, mindfulness and a solid, strong faith are the difference maker in obtaining sobriety or not. However, we’ve learned that more work has to be done then just “praying on it.” It’s a journey requiring a lot of work. It’s hard work, that a hower power is believed to reward.
Religions embrace the journey. They support, and often promote mindfulnessbased theories connecting between their religion and faith. Mental health and addiction is no longer looked at as signs of weakness, or lack of willpower.
Like just mentioned, religious groups support, and grow many charitable causes and organizations. They take a 2 pronged approach. Their missions are promoted in a community based way, and an individual way. They’re mindful that helping an individual is effectively, helping an entire community.
Most legitimate religious groups, organizations and churches believe in more then just supporting and providing aid to their own members. They seem to have grown into a unity & community based philosophy. Often, different religions come together for the same causes.
While doing my research for this series, I came across some articles and literature. Some of which I did not agree with. I felt a bit disturbed by it, strongly disagreed with the message. Here is a quote of a portion of the article/message I’m referencing=
“If you’re looking for a regular place to worship or practice your faith, be alert to how each congregation or community approaches mental health conditions. Some churches view mental illness as a moral failing for which prayer is the only treatment while others maintain active outreach programs for people with mental health conditions.”
I disagree with that statement. I have enough awareness, and I’m not naive to the fact that, yes, of course, there are still probably millions of folks who have those type of ancient, barbaric, closed minded OPINIONS. However, it’s my strong opinion that the majority of legitimate, faith based religious organizations, with even the smallest sense of mindfulness, have evolved and matured in certain areas, similar to this subject.
I understand that much of religion’s word still follows writings, and pieces that are centuries or thousands of years old. But, I think religious philosophies of mental health & addiction have grown & matured with the times. These kind of problems have begun to be approached with kindness, understanding, patience and love. All strengthened by a mindful understanding of faith and a Higher Power of our understanding,
There was another statement, I read somewhere else, that definitely encourages my faith. The quote said=
“Finding a caring congregation that is accepting and supports your healing journey is key”
Remember that the LEGITIMATE faith or religious based organization you want, is absolutely out there.
Allow Faith & Higher Power the opportunity, to guide you to there.
By Author & Social Advocate, MICHAEL PATANELLA