The Power of Stillness: Mindful Living for Latter-day Saints
By Jacob Z. Hess, Carrie L. Skarda, Kyle D. Anderson, Ty R. Mansfield
The co-authors of a forthcoming book on mindful living for Latter-day Saints have each felt separate nudges to consider a text to explore the mindfulness/Mormonism interface for some time. Although they’ve relished many popular treatments of the topic, including those exploring applications toward a more contemplative Christianity, they’ve also found their texts to be variously foreign to many Latter-day Saint ears. They’ve long desired an exploration that would feel more accessible to our own Latter-day Saint community, communicating insights from contemplative/mindful practice in a way that enhances faith in, and experience with, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
A central aim of the book is to advocate and help foster a meditative space where LDS doctrine and language are embraced as the foundation of contemplative practice—and where teachings from Joseph Smith, David O. McKay, and Gordon B. Hinckley can help illuminate words from Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Thomas Keating. Indeed, one of our central theses is that mindfulness already permeates the Latter-day Saint experience, even if we’re not always aware of it!
There are many ways the skill of mindfulness might bolster and enhance Latter-day Saint spiritual practices. For example, mindfulness cultivates silence, which allows a richer communion in prayer with God. It helps interrupt knee-jerk reactions to misunderstandings in our church and family relationships. It cultivates slowing the mind down enough to rest on a scriptural text, allowing greater relishing of God’s word and better recognition of personal revelation. Practicing mindfulness also has led us to better experience the power of the Sabbath as a retreat, and the temple as a sanctuary escape from the “doing mode of mind.”