by John Dear
Occasionally, we share writings on mindfulness from the perspective of different world religions. This is an excerpt from “They Will Inherit the Earth: Peace and Nonviolence in a Time of Climate Change” by John Dear, an American Catholic priest, pacifist, author, and lecturer who invites us to live mindfully with all of creation.
To grow in deeper, loving awareness of our sisters and brothers, the beautiful creatures, and wonders of creation, we practice the art of mindfulness. That means we try not to live in the past or stew over the future. We give ourselves to the present moment of peace and return to the gentleness of our breath as a way to return to the present moment, the eternal now. The Buddhists teach mindful living, mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful working. Every moment becomes an opportunity to step into the present moment of peace.
“We are speaking of an attitude of the heart,” Pope Francis writes, “one which approaches life with serene attentiveness, which is capable of being fully present to someone without thinking of what comes next, which accepts each moment as a gift from God to be lived to the full. Jesus taught us this attitude when he invited us to contemplate the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, or when seeing the rich young man and knowing his restlessness, ‘he looked at him with love’ (Mk 10:21). He was completely present to everyone and to everything, and in this way, he showed us the way to overcome that unhealthy anxiety which makes us superficial, aggressive and compulsive consumers.”
Putting on the mind of the nonviolent Christ and practicing his nonviolence, we learn to contemplate the lilies of the field and the birds of the air…. We recognize every human being as a sister and brother, every creature as a gift from God, and Mother Earth as a treasure to be honored and cared for. We too learn to walk mindfully on earth in the present moment of peace. As we do, we not only non-cooperate with injustice and environmental destruction, model gospel nonviolence, and seek justice and peace for everyone, we help everyone step into the present moment of peace.