“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind stays on You, because he trusts in You.” - Isaiah 26:3
The word “mindfulness” was brought into the Western consciousness by professor Jon Kabat-Zinn when he created his mindfulness-based stress reduction program. He defined “mindfulness” as “moment to moment awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a specific way.” Kabat-Zinn’s teaching started a movement of mindfulness that was featured on TIME magazine covers, generated scientific research on the biology of meditation and stress reduction, has been used as a technique to reduce pain in cancer therapy, and is so pervasive that my physics professor starts every class with a mindfulness moment and mantra.
Kabat-Zinn’s teaching was ultimately powerful because he emphasized an essential truth: what we pay attention to matters. In his book, Wherever You Go There You Are, Kabat-Zinn asserts our attention should be placed on “getting in touch with our own wisdom” to reduce stress and achieve peace. But does the wisdom to conquer stress lie within us, in some undiscovered corner of our mind?
According to Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” The Bible teaches that, far from being founts of wisdom, hearts are the source of deceit, and that delving further into ourselves will lead to less peace. Similar to Kabat-Zinn, the Bible invites us to be aware and meditate, but instead of placing our focus on ourselves, the Bible instructs us to set our gaze on God. The prophet Isaiah writes, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind stays on You, because he trusts in You” (26:3). Perfect peace is found when we place our focus on God.
The season of Lent is an invitation to set our attention daily on Jesus’s death and resurrection. We are invited to gaze at the beauty of the cross, and as we do, we step out of the misery and deceit of our own hearts and into the rapture of His perfect peace.
Dear Jesus, help us to set our gaze on You every day in this season of Lent. Captivate us with the beauty of Your sacrifice and keep us in Your perfect peace. Amen.
 Lomas, Tim. “Where Does the Word ‘Mindfulness’ Come from?” HuffPost, HuffPost, 17 Mar. 2017, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/where-does-the-word-mindfulness-come-from_b_9470546.
 Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life. Piatkus, 2016.
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About the Author:
Anna Eberwein is a fourth-year at Vanderbilt studying molecular biology and viola performance. She enjoys her neuroscience research and writing poetry.