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Christine McFarland wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • What is the Church's view on Mindful Meditation?

My granddaughter was getting it at primary school and came home and said, we had a mindful thing today — I didn't like it; it was like getting put into a trance.

She is 8 years old and, seeing that it is a Buddhist technique, I wondered why it was ever brought into a Catholic school.

Please help!

Thanks.

Christine

  { What's the Church's view on Mindful Meditation and why are Buddhist techniques in our schools? }

Mike replied:

Dear Christine,

I'm not familiar with this Eastern meditation practice but based on a few faithful Catholic web sites, it does not sound proper for any Catholic school which claims to be faithful to the Church.

This web thread from Catholic Answers should help. It also has a link to a document from the Vatican web site on Christian meditation:

I hope this helps,

Mike

John replied:

Christine,

Eastern Meditation is not compatible with Christianity.

The fundamental difference between Eastern Meditation from Eastern Religions is that they are self-centered:

  • You focus on self.
  • You look for answers from the inside as part of creation or nature.
  • You seek to find the Divine within you.

whereas, in Christianity you:

  • Look up to God.
  • Your answers are found in Him, through Jesus Christ.
  • Yes, the Holy Spirit indwells within us and we partake and participate in the Divinity of Christ by grace, but it is not intrinsic to our own human nature.

John

A friend, Anonymous Andrew replied:

Christine,

Here is a helpful article for parents in your situation:

The author recommends that parents opt their children out of mindfulness meditation programs for religious reasons. The presenters may say that the program has no religious content, but you can respond that the program is against your religious views anyway. (Mindfulness itself is a Buddhist concept: it's one step in the Eight-fold Noble Path of Buddhism.)

As a point of concern, quite apart from religious issues, I wonder if the teacher is aware that some people may suffer from negative emotions or traumatic memories when they engage in mindfulness meditation. See, for example:

In an average classroom, it's likely that 10-20% of the children have suffered some kind of trauma: most commonly domestic violence or sexual abuse.

  • How prepared is the teacher to recognize when a child is having a negative experience during meditation exercises, let alone take some appropriate action?

That really is a situation that calls for a trained therapist, and it is not right to expose children (who cannot meaningfully consent) to the risk of such a reaction, especially in a group, in front of their peers.

Finally, here's a piece (even from the liberal Huffington Post site) about meditation as a stealth way of putting Buddhist practice into schools:

I hope this all helps.

God bless!

Andrew

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