Holy Nativity is in the middle of running a mindfulness course. Two clinical psychologists are offering their time and expertise as part of their faith giving. I am doing the course for my own wellbeing. Some of you at this point will have no idea what I’m going on about.
Mindfulness means: “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.”
Part of mindfulness is to regularly pay intense attention to what you are doing. This could be anything but I have found eating something to be something I find beneficial. Every morning I eat eggs from the churchwarden’s chickens. And each morning I cook them in a rush, and wolf them down as I am half way out of the door. Sometimes, my eating is so bad that I forget to chew something and have to drink something to stop myself from choking. I rush. I rush everywhere and rush everything I don’t think is important (like eating breakfast) so that I can live 1.643 lives simultaneously. “How do you manage to do so many things Robb?” Well if I’m honest, it is by missing out a lot of other things. Like chewing.
So I am an egg heavier. I selected my small pan and put it on the heat. I selected an egg. I chose a large brown one with several pieces of straw still stuck to it. I cracked it on the side of the pan and watched as it slide into a slight dip in the metal base. I watched as it slowly changed from clear to white. I opened the packed, avoided the crust and selected two sliced of bread. Then I decided which sauce to use (Bourbon BBQ for breakfast because I’m that edgy). As I sat down and looked at my breakfast I smelled fried egg for the first time in years. Considering I eat this same breakfast most days, that is a revelation. How have I not noticed what fried egg smells like for so long? I savoured every bite. Then the inevitable happened, it dribbled down my chin. And I realise as I held the small side plate that I leave a lot more mess with a fried egg butty than I do at communion. And then I realised I was praying. And had been praying for the last ten minutes. I had been praying about something as mundane as an egg. I wasn’t relating to myself so much as relating to the divine, the other, that which is not part of me, the holy: God.
And I kept on praying. About family, friends, the community I’m part of at Holy Nativity and the hundreds of concerns I have for people.
An egg led me to prayer because I paid attention to it.
Yes, that sounds weird to me as well.
So what keeps me from paying attention to what I’m eating? What gets in the way of praying? The times my mind wandered off of the mindfulness exercise, I was thinking about one thing and one thing only: Facebook. “I’ll have to change my status to “Robb is one egg heavier, chuckle”. How has Social Media become such an important part of our lives that it can stop us from living them?
I am an early adopter. I love Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and even Myspace (Currently residing in our where are they now files). Social media is a great thing. Social media keeps us connected with each other in ways that we could only dream of ten years ago. It connect us with friends and family who are far off. We must be careful not to allow it to stop us from connecting with those who are near. We must be careful not to allow it to stop us connecting with the divine.
Robb is one egg heavier.