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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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I just finished Sacred Compass by J. Brent Bill and Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God by James Finley. I am currently reading The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within by Christine Valters Paintner.
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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.
I use a Prayer Rope after each Centering Prayer Sit.
Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
The early Christians, teaches the Reverend Cynthia Bourgeault, were afire with the spirit of Jesus, inspired fully by his teaching of a total transformation of consciousness. How do we reclaim that fire today? On Encountering the Wisdom Jesus, this brilliant author and dynamic Episcopalian priest presents her first full-length audio course about rediscovering the Master of Wisdom. Twelve immersive sessions cover: the parables as wisdom tools; Jesus’s teachings about kenosis (or self-emptying: a path as radical today as it was 2,000 years ago); Jesus as tantric master; Centering Prayer, an approach to meditation as Jesus lived it, and much more. (Based upon her book, The Wisdom Jesus.)
Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain.
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. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
Contemplative Light is a group of Spiritual Directors and writers. They offer a unique style of contemplative coaching based on the teachings and traditions of Christian Mysticism. Sign up for a Spiritual Map Session.