I am a Christian–is mindfulness right for me? - April 29, 2012
Dear Dr. Kelly
I am a Christian. My faith is very important to me and I am not interested in doing rituals or ceremonies from Buddhism or other religions. I am interested in learning more about mindfulness because I have a lot of stress and I know I worry too much. Are your mindfulness-based cognitive therapy groups Buddhist? Would someone like me be comfortable in one of your MBCT groups?
Thanks for you question. I have heard this kind of question before. I am sure that you could be comfortable in our MBCT groups. Over the years I have had a number of Christian ministers, priests and other religious workers take part in the mindfulness groups that I offer. None of them ever had a problem with my approach and some clergy who do pastoral counselling have referred members of their congregations to my mindfulness groups.
The mindfulness training that we offer is based on psychological principles and techniques. Our programs do not involve any religious beliefs or rituals. A few weeks ago a man who came to my office also asked if the MBCT groups had “anything that would be a problem for a Christian.” As a joke I warned him that “we do ring a bell” to start and stop the meditation training session. He smiled and reminded me that Christians have also been using bells for rather a long time. If you have any more specific questions about mindfulness and religion, please feel free to call our clinic at any time.
Hope this helps,