Grateful to share the following reflection, from Amanda McMillen.

I’ve been practicing yoga for 8 years or so, on and off, which led me to meditation and the wonderful buzzword “mindfulness”. The idea of mindfulness is truly a beautiful one. It’s the concept of pausing long enough to bring us out of the minutiae of our day-to-day worries, and it encourages us to seek a moment of peace and remember where we are in the grand scheme of things. It can look like five minutes of meditation, to take that extra breath and try to empty your mind of thoughts before you fill it up with ordinary busyness for the day. It’s been determined that mindful people are less anxious, less depressed, happier, and more active.

Recently, I’ve heard more people talk about how mindfulness can go further than meditation, how it can affect our choices, like what we buy at the grocery store or how we act towards difficult people. One of my favorite environmental bloggers coined the term “biomindfulness”, referring to the awareness of the human interaction with our biosphere, its plants, animals, and fellow people.

Mindfulness is a beautiful way to connect to the world outside of our own mind. My problem is, once again, I’m selfish. And if you’re honest, you are too (sorry). When I read beautifully written environmental activism articles or books about ways that I can reduce my waste, or start the long path of veganism, or why composting matters, I get excited, I’ll admit. I think, “I can really do this! I can make a difference!” and I honestly believe that is a lovely thought, and maybe even a true one! But the next day I wake up and I eat bacon for breakfast because it’s delicious. I buy something I don’t need from Amazon that I know will come packaged in plastic because shopping makes me happy sometimes.

I love the idea of environmentalism, but I’m a pretty pathetic environmentalist myself.

The law of mindfulness, or of environmentalism, is not what changes my habits. It is good and beautiful, but I am too self-absorbed to follow its rules.

When Jesus asked his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane to stay awake and keep watch, he stayed awake and prayed. And when they fell asleep time after time, he still made the trek up to Calvary the next morning. When we fall asleep, he is awake. When we are distracted, God is mindful. And by his grace only do we start to see outside of ourselves long enough to catch a glimpse of our interconnectedness and God’s great love for us all.

All this to say, I’m reminded time and again that it is not mindfulness or environmentalism that will save us. It’s not caring about others better or caring about our world more that will save us. The saving work has been done by One who cares so deeply, so much more than I ever could myself. It is finished, and we can rest knowing this, while still finding our hearts pulled to care for things outside of ourselves, by His grace alone. Thank God.