What exactly is “mindfulness”? You may or may not have heard this current buzzword that seems to be popping up more and more. Is it dangerous New Age nonsense? Can this psychological practice be reconciled with Catholicism? Does it even matter?
Well, if God is the source of all Being itself and is in the present moment, then by being mindful of the present moment, and by intentionally “reuniting” my body and soul by putting aside distractions and anxieties, I become all the more open to the presence of God. By “filling my mind” with the present reality through all my five senses and entrusting this moment to God, the Father who cares for and loves me, I thus find myself more in tune with reality than ever before. Easier said than done, especially in our fragmented and distracted society.
I had the privilege of conversing with Dr. Gregory Bottaro has written a book called “Catholic Mindfulness: Finding God One Moment at a Time” and heads the CatholicPsych Institute, and has got lots of great things to say on this practice.
[NOTE: this is my first attempt at doing a web-interview over Facebook Live and, as an introvert and amateur techie, I’m learning…so please be patient with my lack of skill! I promise that I will get better!]
Dr. Bottaro is a clinical psychologist practicing in Connecticut serving the greater New York Metropolitan area and many others through online therapy. He received his Psy.D. (Doctorate in Clinical Psychology) from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, a graduate school in Arlington, VA that integrates Catholic philosophy and theology with sound, empirically validated psychology. Before finishing his degree, he discerned a religious vocation with the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs) before ultimately feeling the prompting of God’s will to pursue family life.
Dr. Bottaro formed the CatholicPsych Institute in 2012 to connect Catholics around the world with therapists trained to integrate the faith with the practice. There are many different types of psychological needs. CatholicPsych therapists are trained to provide treatment for the worst types of psychological suffering, as well as provide a therapeutic atmosphere to gain insight into some of life’s basic adjustments and issues.
Here’s a great follow-up article that Dr. Gregory wrote to address some of the misconceptions, concerns, or questions regarding a Christian practicing mindfulness.
I hope you enjoy the conversation!
PS: Here are some excellent books from our rich Church history regarding finding the will of God in the present moment: