By Casey Cole Corbin, artist-counselor
Surprisingly to most modern Christians, we are commanded 37 times in the Word of God to meditate. We may have neglected to be obedient in this area. As an artist-counselor who is also a Christian, I am often asked, “How does this Mind-Based Mood Management work as a lifestyle anyway? How does it integrate with following Jesus?” I can answer that and also share a few exercises to try.
"Mystics" is a word I previously associated with witchcraft, until I learned that the early Christians were called this. There was something different about them that the onlookers saw, a peculiar way they handled their everyday life. They had a distinctive response to stressors, how they interacted with others, how they lived, and the priorities they set.
They were still real humans with real struggles. They had setbacks and they were not perfect (i.e.: Paul needing to correct Peter.) But they faced real stress and suffering-- more than most of us will ever experience, including torture and even death—and they handled it differently. I believe that they did this spiritually, but in a much more practical way than we usually consider.
It was already part of their culture to practice a lifestyle of a mind-body connection that we might call Mindfulness today. They pulled themselves together and toward their source of strength which enabled them to do amazing things like suffer and die for the cause of Christ.
Most of us do not have those kinds of trials, but we do live in a world full of stress. I’ll offer you a Thought Exercise that I have led thousands of my clients through. As requests for this have increased, both for in-person sessions or over video calls, I created audio recordings to automate the process and help more people.
Thought Exercise:When you have that moment in your day when you feel all over the place, anxious, or overwhelmed - get centered.
Getting ‘centered’ is not some weird thing that only “those other religions” do. In fact, you probably already do it, any time you say to yourself:
Maybe you play a certain song. Or at CHURCH, when the worship leader says, “Everyone get your mind off the stress of the week and focus on praising God now” and “Turn your focus of thanking Jesus, in this place.”
Or how about when you create ART?
What is your practice to ‘get into the zone’? You may have a formal, thought-out process and routine, or maybe it is informal and brief, just as you walk into your studio or get your space ready. That process, whether formal or informal, is you getting centered.
Next time, pay attention to your physiology. In a moment -your body changes. Maybe for you, your heart rate increases for a moment and a tingly feeling runs across your chest, followed by powerful calm. As your awareness then shifts from inside your body to your outside environment, you are mentally taking inventory of what’s around you and all the possibilities of how you can use the supplies to create your art.
So let’s try it now:
I’ve recorded audio versions of these exercises to help you to better focus on the internal work of building this new skill. Also included are several skill-building audios, video, and written support materials. These will help to cement these learnings so that this new ability will serve you well for the rest of your life. For more information on these recordings and to learn even more about Mind-Based Mood Management, click the link below.
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