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I am excited to share with you my review of Living with the Mind of Christ: Mindfulness in Christian Spirituality by Stefan Gillow Reynolds. Stefan is a Benedictine Oblate of the World Community for Christian Meditation, co-ordinator for Oblates in Ireland and an Associate of the Irish Cistercians. He has a PhD from London University in Christian Spirituality and gives regular retreats and seminars on Christian mysticism.
“What we can learn from the Christian mystics is that there is not just one type of mindfulness.” The book is nicely divided into 8 chapters that reviews the following mystics: Jesus, the Desert Fathers and Mothers, St. Augustine, Meister Eckhart and John Main to a name a few. We learn that there are four main mediums of mindfulness: the body, the heart, the mind and the soul.
This book will be attractive for someone who wants to embark on a deeper study of the mystics. Two chapters appealed to me: Chapter 1: Jesus, Teacher of Mindfulness and Chapter 5: Letting Go, Letting God.
Jesus, Teacher of Mindfulness
“Mindfulness in the Christian vision is to ‘let the same mind be in [us] that was in Christ Jesus’ (Phil 2:5).” I practice centering prayer on a daily basis. Centering prayer is a practice or tool that opens me to contemplative prayer: the pure presence of God.
I find that my silent prayer practice teaches me how to put on the mind of Christ. In other words, it teaches me how to be mindful in my actions during the day. The actions of Jesus were certainly mindful: other centered, compassionate, empathetic, fully present with life. “Mindfulness is the art of being open to what life presents, moment by moment in its newness.” Throughout the Gospels we see the mindfulness of Jesus’ actions.
Meister Eckhart, Letting Go and Letting God
I found Meister Eckhart to be very appealing. “Let us Pray to God that we may be free of God that we may gain the truth.” That in essence is what I do during centering prayer. Centering prayer is a time of continuous “letting go” and “letting God.” I must reread this chapter in the near future a bit slower and with a highlighter in hand.
I will leave this book on my bedside table with the intention of a second run through chapters 2 and 5 that discuss Jesus, Teacher of Mindfulness and Letting Go, Letting God. Thank you Stefan for writing such a thoughtful and insightful book on many of our important mystics!
If you enjoyed reading this review, please recommend and share it to help others find it.
 Stefan Gillow Reynolds, Living in the Mind of Christ: Mindfulness in Christian Spirituality, (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd): 2016
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David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain. It also works well in group studies too.
Listen to Simply Good News by New Testament scholar and author N. T. Wright. It is based upon his book Simply Good News. You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament. Also works well in group studies.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright.
Discover the Context, Content & Production of the New Testament in The Bible- An Introduction to the New Testament by Scott Metz.
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