Mindfulness, devotion and trust
Often it is thought that mindfulness is an alternative approach to peace and spirituality as opposed to devotional practices such as prayer. However, devotion can lead to mindfulness and hence peace. On such a path of devotion, mindfulness is not the aim; it is the bi-product of devotion. When we do everything with devotion, we give ourselves to the Divine. We live with grace and full attention. In life we are always doing something and everything can be done with devotion, even breathing. When we breathe with devotion, naturally we are mindful of the breath because we are absorbed in it.
Living with devotion changes the way we live. When we act, we devote our efforts to a higher purpose and we do so without trying to control reality according to our egoistic wishes. Of course, we must exert some control. When we wash dishes, we need to try to clean them without breaking them, but we can’t control everything. There are only a certain number of dishes we can do in a set time; to try to clean more than our capacity is to insist on our own will. We need to yield to the powers beyond us which are a manifestation of God’s Will. Stress comes from doing more than our capacity – trying to control what we can’t control. The bus is late – we are trying to hasten it with our puny wills, only feeling frustrated and stressed. To live in peace is to accept our limitations – to do what we can do and not try to do everything.
This is where trust comes in. When we trust in a Higher Power, we are also better able to practice mindfulness. A lot of our thoughts are motivated by a need to control things, fix problems, avoid suffering. We are constantly trying to figure out in our heads how to improve and protect our lives. But when we trust that God is always protecting us, we don’t have the incessant need to do this. We can relinquish control, and when we do so, we can also relinquish our overactive minds.
When we live life with devotion and trust in the One Power, we can live life in conscious awareness and hence peace.