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Coronavirus and Mindfulness Transcript

Coronavirus and Mindfulness Transcript March 8, 2020

Meditation is a Christian practice loved in Bible times but forgotten by most today. The Christian Mindfulness and Christian Contemplation online courses show us how to slow down, put down our phones, focus on the inner life and reconnect with Jesus. In these busy, anxious times Christian Mindfulness might sound new, but it’s older than King David who said ‘I have calmed and quieted my soul’ (Psalm 131:2).

Coronavirus is just the latest trigger for anxiety. Christian Mindfulness is one tool we can use to help us cope when things seem too much to handle.  In this post we share the full transcript of my recent interview with Richard Johnston, who is the founder of ChristianMindfulness.co.uk.

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Full Transcript  (auto-generated by Descript)

Adrian:  Hi everyone. my name is Adrian Warnock and I’m here with Richard Johnston. And not to be confused with one of the Johnson’s.. You aren’t related to Boris?

Richard:  No!

Adrian:  Today I’m absolutely delighted to be able to join Rich in one of these interviews, online. I don’t get a chance to do this sort of thing very often, but I think this is going to be really exciting and actually potentially really important.

One of the things that struck me an awful lot recently, has been a verse, from, Psalms 90:12 and it just says teach us to number our days so that we may be wise. And I’m paraphrasing slightly cause I wasn’t actually planning to read that, but you know, me, I’m all about spontaneity.

And that just first pops into my mind as I was thinking about this this morning. And, So, so Richard you obviously have worked a lot with people who are suffering, and we’ll get into the details of some of that. obviously in a little while we’ve got plenty of time, but I think it might be fair to say, that. There’s an awful lot of people right now who was suddenly worried about the health situation. We’re recording this in the middle of this whole COBIT 19 Corona virus situation where suddenly it’s not just China. You know, there’s something like 2000 people in Italy, and suddenly people are worrying about, about health in a way that perhaps most people don’t.

But as I was speaking with Matt Chandler, who was, I think the last person I did this. Kind of session with, I would argue that actually in a way that numbering our days, that being aware of our mortality, of how a weakness, if you like, is actually not just wise. It’s the reality in a way. It’s everyone else all the time who don’t worry about health that’s  deluded. And, I think it’s Jordan Peterson who said it’s not a wonder that people get scared. And so I think we’ll talk a lot about anxiety today. What’s the wonder is that anybody can get out of bed and not be scared because actually, you know, there’s no point saying to someone who’s anxious, look, there’s no problem, don’t worry, you’ll be fine. Because of course, the reality is they may not be. And, I spoke a lawful lot about that with him, talking about how when he got his cancer diagnosis, he was told, Oh, you know, he was asked, what’s the best case scenario? What’s the worst? And he was told, well, the worst case scenario, Mmm. Is that you could die on the way home by being hit by a truck and suddenly we have an opportunity in front of us because we’ve been confronted all of us by our own mortality. Now, generally speaking, I, and I’d like to hear your thoughts on this in a minute, I think most people will rather quickly suppress that because it’s hard to live with the reality that we face.

We like to live in a delusion that we’re all safe and that maybe we’ll just fall asleep one day when we’re at 80 or 90 and go and be with Jesus. And in the meantime. You know, we’ll be wealthy and we’ll be healthy, even if we’re not, you know, full on prosperity. But “Christ will look after us. Everything will be fine.” And even if we’re not Christians, we tend to think, well, we must be positive and must be positive. And obviously we’ll talk a little bit about CBT because Richard’s a CBT expert. We’ll also talk about Christian mindfulness because he’s an expert in that. But sometimes CBT can even be part of this. It’s like we’ve got to get rid of the negative thoughts and be positive, be positive, be positive. The tyranny of the positive.

So Richard, As we start us off, and we won’t spend the whole time talking about this, but what is your thought about what I’ve just been saying about this idea that actually there almost can be a spiritual utility and having our eyes open and to number the add days and to realize that, Hey, you know, actually none of us really know, where we’ll be.

I mean, Spurgeon used to look out over his congregation sometimes each week in the middle of the cholera epidemic in Victoria in London, and say, look. By this time next week. Some of us won’t be here. You’ll get right with God kind of thing. So anyway, your thoughts on that, Richard, and then we’ll, we’ll move into sort of the main, the main meat of what we’re talking about.

Richard:  Well, yeah. I mean, Spurgeon himself was there, someone who suffered from depression and darkness. Primarily triggered by a traumatic expedience. Yeah. When he was preaching the gospel many died. that’s right. Yeah. so the gospels primarily a by a reality check. so when, when we hear the gospel preach in our churches, week by week.

It’s a reality check. You know, this is the truth. the Christ died. Christ rules from the grave. That’s through faith in him. We can have the terminal life. Mmm. Mmm. You know, we tried to escape the reality of the brevity of somethings and almost live as if. We’re going to be here forever with ever helping to fix our maker.

Mmm. But it’s simply isn’t true. so the Holy spirit comes to bring revelation of truth to us. And the revelation he brings is, is the gospel and the reality check that the gospel brings, that we actually need to be aware. That life is short and one day very, very soon, we will come before, Oh, our judge, our Lord, our maker, and it’s only through Jesus that we can be saved.

Adrian: Yeah, I think that’s absolutely right. And I, I’m just thinking of in Jesus’ time when there was a tragedy happening. and people had been, I think it was a tower, fell on them. And, you know, people came to and said, well, did these guys sin? Did they do something wrong? You know, did they not have enough faith You know, were they sinners, but worse than me, you know, perhaps they were obese. And that’s why, you know, some somewhere blaming the victim comes out a lot, doesn’t it? And I, and, and, and Jesus just says, no, no, no. You know, just, just realize these things happen. So essentially to everyone sort of bought, basically said, and actually they happened with a purpose for us to sort of sit up, wake up. Oh, is that verse that I, well, the badly quoted number our days. get wise. Real wisdom is about building our life on the foundation of Christ and following his teaching. So you’re absolutely right, a moment like this is a rare moment maybe for, for all of us as Christians, even to re-examine ourselves and say, look, Hey, are we saved? And. I wrote book about that and we’ll, we will park that for now, but you know, but also perhaps to help out our friends and family who might suddenly have this, as you say, moment reality, almost like a light being switched on or available, being taken away from eyes where suddenly we’re, we’re faced up with sort of questions about what really matters is who are we really.

You know, what, what, what will outlast us, you know, what legacy do we want to leave behind? I mean, for me personally, Richard, I know my own diagnosis, almost three years ago now, of  blood cancer in the context of, at the time, quite a nasty pneumonia and, you know, facing up for the first time in my life, really, it’s on my own mortality , made me think, Hey, I’m this, this Christianity Lark that I’ve, I’ve preached even. I’ve written books about, written blogs about, do I actually believe it? Do I? Do? I really believe it. And I guess I know that, sorry, I sort of drop you in on this, but I know that for you personally, you’ve discussed in some of your work on all the mindfulness and CBT and all of those things, which again, we’ll come to in more detail a little while. I’m just trying to sort of entice people in at the moment. you’ve had similar experiences, haven’t you facing challenges, not necessarily in terms of cancer, but in terms of your own personal life and your personal situation.

Maybe you could elaborate that and how that related to your faith.

Richard: Yeah, absolutely. I’m in my early twenties I was diagnosed with diabetes, and that came as a huge shock to me. I still remember, you know, being in the doctor’s surgery. The doctor said to me, go home, pack a bag, and go straight into the hospital. Right. Because my blood sugar levels were through the roof. and without insulin, I would die. you know, it’s as simple as that. Thinking insulin was claimed in the 1920s, people to take insulin.

For many years before the genetically produced insulin was made and were recently. but without insulin, people who were diagnosed with diabetes within a few months died. so I know, something of my own mortality bit cause. Yeah. If you look at the statistics of people with diabetes that typically the life expectancy is 20 years, 15 years less than people.

We don’t have diabetes. so that, that’s a sobering thought when you’re a young man in his early twenties potentially. Oh yeah. Just lost 15 or 20 years of my life. Maybe not,

but certainly made me stop and think, Whoa. Yeah. We don’t have long.

Adrian: And how did that affect your faith? Did it challenge your faith? I mean, were you a Christian already at that point, or,

Richard: I was a Christian. it made me think, Well, I need, huh. And then quite quickly I recognize that we don’t always get an answer to the why question.

And, if we keep banging on it gold with a blank question, where actually not going to help ourselves very much. so I can reframe the question. Hi. Can go and use this. Two, make me a blessing for other people. And I, it’s very much about facing our own weakness as human beings and brokenness.

Mmm. Never the length, you know, the miracle of God is that he takes us exactly as we are, and in the quiet of his spirit, he can speak through thos truths and bring blessing to other people, and we should never diminish the potential of that, even in the very sheath of our own weakness, and God is able to take us. Some of the apostle Paul himself sent them that power. Is it made perfect?

Adrian:  Yeah. When? When we are weak, we ask, Hey, we’re strong.

Richard: I‘m just going to see him. If. If we seek to bring the truth of God to others and, and preach the gospel, the very plate square, the power of  God will be made. Perfect is our weakness. And that was the expedience of, the, of course will call. And if it’s good enough for him and maybe it’s good enough for us.

Adrian:   Yeah. Now, of course, the interesting thing is that what you’re just talking about right now, unfortunately can sound quite alien, even in many Christian contexts.

and I think, for me, I know one of the early challenges for me was turning up at church and there was, you know, celebrate every song, which, you know, full of. You know, glory, praise, happiness, and you know, happy clappy if you like. And of course, not all the songs are like that, but you know, you, I’d be sitting in those meetings, at those moments especially and already feeling frustrated cause I couldn’t stand, you know, and sort of feeling like maybe everyone was looking at me and judging me, which  I’m sure it wasn’t the case, but you know, and feeling like I didn’t belong there feeling that perhaps I was the only person in that big room really suffering, even though, you know, that’s not true.

You know, there’s a great tendency, I think, to put on our game face. I don’t think, you know, non-Christians do that. You know, this idea. Some people talk about the tyranny of the positive and the idea that we missed. You know, how you doing? I’m fine. I’m praising Jesus, you know? And yes, we are praising Jesus, we hope, but sometimes you know, that kind of over positivity can, can be quite damaging and quite dangerous for people who are beginning to face that weakness.

Richard:  Absolutely. And I think there is a process in churches going through the moment, which I pray will redress the balance in that respect. And yes. Well, I would describe as over realized eschatology. Yeah.

Adrian: Do you want to just explain what that means?

Richard:  It’s the belief that everyone should get instinct instantaneously, then everyone should be completely free from all sin.

And you know, the kingdom of God has come in all its fullness right now, and eh, we should have heaven on earth right now. but it simply isn’t true. So. I think  it was John Wimber who,  and kingdom is not yet. So there’s a tension there between the kingdom of God coming into here and leg. Yeah. The first fruits of the spirit are evident.

City people coming to faith in Christ, people walking in the beach and to crates, and even people getting healed. they’re the first freaks of the kingdom that has yet to come and old. And in the meantime, what we have is, kingdom night and kingdom note yet, and King Gullo, yet we’ll include, eh, people suffering, people getting you.

People dying of illness and then the sovereignty of God. There’s a huge, I make the mystery there, and it’s not our job to play God in that respect. It’s our job to get on our face and humility before the greatness and glory of who he is. And humbly it, except, yeah. Acceptance is a difficult one for Christians.

Because we can be banging on about, getting change in our life. We want to be changed to be more like Jesus. We want people to get heal, and we are pushing and pushing for circumstances to change all the time. But some things, acceptance is a battery place to be, you know, Jesus. Yeah. To them in the garden, that gift seminary.

Yeah. Not my will, but yours be done. Yeah. so there was an acceptance of the fathers. Well, that sometimes w we’d rather just have all the kingdom right now. But there’s a great mystery there and those who don’t suffer on this planet and questions who see otherwise. They’re killing themselves.

Adrian: I often like to say there’s no 120 year old faith healer. They all die at some time. Yeah. And they will get sick. You know, people said, well, you know, they just don’t have all days. No. You get sick and then you die. You know? And that’s what happens to everyone. That’s what happens to the apostles. I mean, I often think it’s amazing. It’s what happens to Lazarus, you know, he died twice.

Yeah. I mean, that’s a funny thought, isn’t it? That, you know, God raises him from the dead. And you might think, Oh, got it. Right. Great. That’s it for him. But no. Yeah, to go through that experience twice. Maybe that’s the reason why Jesus was crying, he’s like, my poor friend will have to do this twice. Even Jesus only he had to do it once.

Jesus did say In this world, we will have troubles, and that’s the promise of Jesus. One of my. early mentors, a guy called Henry Tyler,  he used to love saying Jesus always keeps his promises. And that includes that one, the, in this world, you will have troubles. It’s, it’s, it’s kind of a given. And I think, yeah, like we were saying earlier, suddenly people are realizing, Hey, I’m not quite as secure as I thought. You know, I’m getting on the tube today and that person who’s coughing next to me, well, you know, potentially they could have this coronavirus well, actually they could just have the flu and people forget thousands and thousands to actually die of the flu.

u But very quickly, we sort of, we don’t think about those things. It’s like we don’t think about car crashes. We don’t think. There’s all sorts of things we don’t think about, but suddenly something’s comes to us. And I guess it’s because it’s so uncertain and so scary, and people are talking about such horrendous numbers that, you know, could it be that 80% of the world’s population might get this illness in the next year, and if that’s the case, could it be the, as many as 2% of those people would die? Although apparently, the stats seem to be that if you’re over 80, its more like a 20% chance.

Or if you’ve got cancer like I do, and probably actually even yourself with your diabetes  that, you know, might be a 6 or 7% chance. And you know, we don’t think that we’re potentially going to die when we get the flu cause it’s more like a 0.1% chance. And so suddenly people are worried and they’re scared and anxiety.

I guess it fulfills a task, doesn’t it? Because it, it does point out to us, Hey, there’s a problem here. So it might mean, for example, that we wash our hands more like Boris Johnson has been telling us, although I will say, I don’t know why they don’t stress this. You must dry your hands properly as well. Don’t use a towel someone else’s, otherwise you’re just putting the bacteria straight back. But you know, all these practical things that the government’s having to think about as well. And you know, obviously there’s a whole area there about how much do we . Overreact? I mean there’s, you know, is it, is it right to shut the country down at this point?

Perhaps not, but maybe it will be in a couple of weeks or maybe, you know, Just today, everyone in Northern Italy who’s over 65, has been told not to leave their houses for, for the next three weeks to protect them.

So I guess anxiety comes along partly to make us think things through and come up with a plan, I guess it might not be totally a bad thing

Richard: It’s not all bad in that respect. You know, we can take preventative measures in order to avoid possible outcome.Anxiety leads us in that direction. Then. That is a positive thing. It becomes less positive if  it’s based on overthinking, looking into the future, considering possible outcomes that actually, or highly unlikely to come to pass. Yeah. Well. You know, we’ve, we manufacture these possible outcomes in our, in our minds, and they grab our attention, we focus in on them, and that they cause us to be very anxious and we can go rang and rang that circle over anxiety, can be very crippling for people

Adrian:  What’s really interesting is been, you know, this current situation and also actually last year with the Brexit thing. Although Brexit neurosis seems to be a little bit less severe at the moment. I guess that may be partly because we’ve had to resign ourselves, or to use the words you used earlier, accept.

The reality that we have now left and that at the end of the year, you know, we may even have a no deal. People don’t seem to quite so alarmed about that as they were last year when it was all up in the air and uncertain. But I think what’s true about both things is that. Many people, especially on Twitter, but also, I think in just general life, we all suddenly appointed ourselves as experts so we know what should happen.

We think “If I was prime minister, you know, I would have immediately shut all the flights down from China” tho that’s exactly what Italy did and that didn’t work out for them did it?.Or someone will sayt surely that decision  is an overreaction or, you know, we must do this. And there’s a passage I want to come onto in a minute actually, and be quite a good segue into some of the other things we want to talk about.

I think, this idea of, of actually almost getting above our station is dangerous for our mental health. I’m not the prime minister and nor are you, you know. and, actually they’ve got a lot of experts advising them. and hopefully they’re making some good decisions, but I think there’s a lot of, a lack of trust in our leaders, isn’t there?

Richard: There is a lack of trust. When trust breaks down, we try and figure everything out for ourselves and, you know, we’re very much working in know, individually society where the power of the individual to speak out and have our sa okay. Challenging authority. is very much at the forefront. Sometimes it’s, understandable because all the abuse of authority, both in religious and political spheres, That has resulted in that loss of trust. But from a Christian perspective, We believe in the sovereignty of God, I’ll trust his trustworthiness. and this again was a huge mystery and all of that.

We’re not saying God deliberately makes people suffer, but the trusting God in the difficulties..

Adrian:  Whether those are personal difficulties, family difficulties, or national difficulties or international difficulties It’s almost like we’ve got two modes, being, one is to be in the sort of panic mode, like we’re talking about.

And I think, you know, at the moment, much of the world is in panic mode about, about this, this virus. And it may or may not. Be as bad as everyone is predicting, it might turn out to be a lot less bad. or it could turn out to be awful, but we just don’t know. And, and, and even the experts don’t know. And everything changes almost on an hour to hour basis.

I mean, so, so we’re sort of. Yeah. We got ourselves all agitated and all our mental energy sorts of goes into that. You know, we might be constantly checking Twitter or BBC news, or 24 hour news cycle, you know, all of these things. That’s right. It’s really filling our minds with it too much

Richard:We do, but if you vRewind 2000 years, and Jesus standing in front of the, a small crowd and he’s speaking to them about worry and that he points them to nature. You consider the birds of the air, the flowers of the field. And these were people who didn’t have iPhone. He didn’t have Twitter, didn’t have Facebook, social media.

He obviously needed teach them not to worry. It tells us something about the human condition rather than just a cultural one. Though obviously our culture these days and with, you know, international media use our news on all of the impact of the internet. That does feed into our worry cause it gives us more things to worry about, there’s overload because there’s too much information coming at us.

Adrian:  I think you’re right. And so I suppose that was what I was wanting to say about the sort of the upper mode, because if we can, if we can suppress our anxiety, you know, perhaps by, you know, not watching the news channels or whatever, or, you know, throwing ourselves into work, many people become workaholics, don’t they?

And I’m constant barrage of emails. It may not necessarily be super worrying, although of course people do worry about their work situations also. but that constant rushing around, you know, going to and fro across the earth. As one of the profits talks about and knowledge increasing and all these big decisions everyone’s making and you know, everyone, you know, wanting to aspire to being managers and this and that and all the nasty rushing around focusing on perhaps things that, look, put it this way on your deathbed, nobody ever thinks, I wish I’d spent more time at the office..

Richard:  Absolutely. Yeah.

Adrian: So our priorities get wrong and it becomes almost like a drug. I think too. To, to, to help us, suppress the anxiety. And so in a weird sort of way, I think perhaps, and I’d be interested in your thoughts on this, that some people almost need the anxiety to be unlocked so that they can stop themselves and say, hang on a minute. You’re not God.  He is Gd and you are not. And no matter how successful you are in your business or how much money you’ve got in the bank, there’s nothing that a single phone call cant,t completely undo for you, in one moment, or, or knock at the door as a policeman comes to the door and has some disastrous news or a diagnosis or, you know, any of these things in a way, as you, as we were talking earlier, something that calls us up short and makes us stop for once.

Richard:  Well, absolutely. I mean, the God of the siege is Sam. Hmm. Yeah. I can fix that, Michelle. I can short it. I don’t need you to tell me you how to live my life. The enthronement of self, the ultimate authority. You know, I don’t need anyone else to tell me I have to live my life, that this kind of approach. it leads to a world of chaos. As Christians, we believe We don’t have to do that. We can learn to trust Our Lord. We can walk with him. One of the very first verses of scripture that I ever memorized was from Proverbs 3:5-6 “trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding in all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

Adrian:  Beautiful. I’m smiling. Because I’m my grandfather, I believe it was, was told that verse like his father on his death bed. and so this is a verse to live by. And that then got passed down through our family, took me to my uncle. It was read at their wedding, and I’ve actually got the reference inscribed on the inside of my ring.

So it’s a beautiful, beautiful verse and it’s a lovely segue into some of the other stuff I want to talk about because here’s the interesting thing. The world is just beginning. To start talking about things like, we need digital detox. Sometimes. Maybe we even need a retreat. Maybe we will need this weird thing called mindfulness.

And of course, many Christians, when they hear about mindfulness, they tend to think, Oh, that’s Buddhist. If they hear about meditation, they tend to think. Well that sounds dodgy. Are we opening ourselves up to demons? and so, you know, there’s a sort of, a lot of Christians just seem to think, look, if I sing a few worship songs on a Sunday morning and I’ve read my Bible, everything will be all right.

And yet. I think the Bible is full of stuff about this need to meditate. This need to calm ourselves down. This need to be still and know that I am God elsewhere. But there was another verse that just sprung to my mind right now, and I rather suspect it may be a familiar one to you because I think.

For me anyway, when I think about meditation and Christian mindfulness, and that’s been a real blessing too, to get involved with some of your material and also actually to go to some secular mindfulness course at my cancer hospital.

And so as I’ve sort of begun to open myself up to that and actually just forcibly been slowed down, I mean, there’s nothing like being in a hospital beds man. For weeks on end and not even having the concentration to watch stupid Netflix. To actually make you stop and think a little bit and you kind of have a choice in that moment. Of course you can become even more anxious and you can become even more agitated. I’m sure there were many times that I did. Or you can somehow reconnect with God. So does it, does it, I just wanted to read a couple of verses from Psalms and then for you to comment. I hope it’s not too much of a curve ball. I’m sure it isn’t for you to then just sort of begin to segue into, you know, how you feel about this whole business of meditation, calming the mind.

Having, I suppose in the first instance, recognized anxiety’s a real thing, which we’ve done. You know, opened our eyes. It’s a good thing. So actually to open your eyes, but what do we do next? So here’s the verses  from Psalm 131 I bet you know this verse really, really well. I suspect if I’m anything I, I’d be very surprised if you don’t,  We were talking about the idea of ideas above our station.

You know, worrying about things that we shouldn’t worry about.

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
    my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
    too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
    from this time forth and forevermore.

Oh Israel. We can say oh Adrian, Oh, Richard. Oh, whoever’s listening. Hope in the Lord from this time forth and for evermore, that Psalm 131. I would love for you to explain that to us and link that in with your life’s work,

Richard: You know what? My desk here at the moment, which I’m so thankful you cannot see, is a little bit messy on the stairs.

I have a copy of PSaml 131. Okay. Yeah. I wrote this, whomever, 30 years ago. My handwriting wasn’t great back then.

Adrian:   Well, I just want to say, by the way, that we didn’t plan this. Yeah. I didn’t know that Proverbs three was important to you. You didn’t know that was important to me, and I didn’t know that some 131 was important to you. I did suspect because of course it’s very real, but carry on. So 30 years ago, what happened? Why did you write about.

Richard:  Well, I think, the, was that the NIV that you just read there?

Adrian:  Mine was the ESV,

Richard:  It speaks about occupying ourselves with things that are too great for us.  I think the whole focus regarding mindfulness is how we occupy our attention. Well. and the reason that we get ourselves into a lot of bother with extreme anxiety is that we get locked into occupying ourselves. Oh. And this is not the whole story. Obviously, it can be biological reasons that people have susceptibility to anxiety.  But this is one factor. We. Focus on something and anxiety can can be an automatic response. Right now it’s coronavirus that we zoom in on, we occupy ourselves with that. And why are you ruminating over and over possible outcomes? Usually most of those items are not going to happen. And even if one or two do happen, we don’t have a magic wand to fix everything, you know, you’re not in overall control. so the question then becomes, well, is there a better option for me to focus my attention on? Because, what we’re doing is we’re using our imaginations to focus them on possible future events.   that often simply will not happen. So in our imaginations, in our minds, our anxiety is, eh, exacerbated. Yeah. Made, even bigger. We zoom in on it. we,  get almost caught up in it. mindfulness is about stepping back from the automatic response and beginning to retrain our focus, our attention on something that will be much more beneficial.

It’s a gradual process. So in terms of how we handle anxiety, actually, mindfulness can be a fantastically helpful tool. It enables us to step back from the automatic response of zooming in on things.  We can get caught up in that place, that anxious place. and we go round in circles and it’s about like the way I described being an elastic band, it’s stretched just about to breaking point. Now, people who struggle with anxiety live with that tension. The inner tension. Some times people obviously do break and in the process, but in order to step back, what mindfulness helps us do is retrain the muscle of attention that each one of us has is a God given capacity for attention.

Adrian: What do you really mean when you talk about attention and awareness?

Richard:  Well, at any given moment of our lives, our attention and awareness through the focused in on something, either automatically or intentionally. So, for example, you go to church on a Sunday morning, hopefully, focusing your attention on the Lord Judah the worst.

Adrian:  You mean you’re not, you’re not thinking about that sneaky little peek at Facebook when the sermon is going on?

Richard:  Surely no. I mean, I’m sure you would never do that would you?

If you’re at church, obviously you’re going to be focusing on the Lords and the worship when you’re singing  when you’re listening to the preacher and the word. But because we living in a destructive age. our attention, it’s so fragmented. It is pulled in so many different directions, by the information overload that we have so it becomes even more challenging. Our society has driven people to the point where they just can’t live with this anymore. Hence the clamor for mindfulness.   People want to step back from the almost breaking point of anxiety.

They can’t take it anymore they are seeking a tranquil, peaceful place, where they can have a breather. They are juggling so many balls in the air. something’s going to have to give.

So, that’s why we have a mental health crisis, partly.

Adrian: I’ll make it specific. So if you go back to the pre sickness, Adrian. Okay. You’d have to go back a couple of years before I got sick. but I was, I was working in a really busy job. I was, you know, managing sometimes up to 15 different clinical trials at the same time, working with lots of different pharmaceutical companies, traveling the world. But then on top of that, I was blogging and I would write a blog post probably almost every day, and then on top of that. I had, various responsibilities in the church, but that included preaching at times and, some support to the elders. I was filling my mind all the time with various issues. And then I had five kids at home. And so, I’d charge home and try and read a story to them and I would time sometimes neglect them a little bit if I’m honest.

Looking back I somehow had the energy to do everything and, or at least I thought I did. But looking back now, I’m not so sure. It all ground to a halt in a moment. It was a bit like a sliding door moment, Richard.

I got off the train on my way home to change tube lines. Like I’d done hundreds and thousands of times. And as I stepped off of one train on the platform, my legs buckled under me. I could no longer walk properly. I was really breathless and you know, this brain of mine, which I had been, so let’s say proud off, and I use that word advisedly and not really in a good way, just didn’t work anymore. It  suddenly felt like cotton wool. I couldn’t concentrate at all. II started to feel like. There was something seriously wrong, you know? So I, I asked for some help. I got taken to the hospital. I was diagnosed with the pneumonia. I was admitted . Then I was diagnosed with a blood cancer.

Later I  had another sort of crisis when my tonsils grew and I was being choked.  They went in and operated, removed those tonsils that are blocking my throat. Then I had chemotherapy. I had all the anxiety of that.

But actually what happened for me was I suddenly stopped all of that overstimulation. So everything stopped.   I was one of those people who then switched a little bit into sort of worrying about the health situation. Not unreasonably perhaps.

I guess other people probably feel the same. So what would your advice have been to me in those early days? Obviously I’ve since picked up some of this, but just imagine. I’ve literally never heard of mindfulness. You know, someone like that. It may be that in the first position, still they’re charging around and don’t realize that there’s a problem, that they’re doing too much, or maybe, or maybe they do realise it as a problem. So how would you, how would you sort of advise them to, to figure out this, this business of slowing down and disconnecting.

Richard:  Well, it’s not so much of a disconnect thing as an reconnecting. People are  overthinking. A million miles an hour, you know, we’re rushing to get from one thing to another. God has given enabled us to be productive and imaginative and creative and all sorts of wonderful ways. But it’s only one part of the equation in terms of who we are meant to be.

The other part of the equation that we often forget is our capacity for attention and awareness. And, Because  live in such a driven age, we can very easily get caught up and that anxious, fast pace world. Yeah. And think it’s the only way that we can let, but, there’s another, we that we can shift our focus, to be more peaceful,  and more   connected   with the present moment. The present moment is the only moment that we can truly live in. Most of us live our lives thinking about what’s next on our to do list. We’re rushing instead of fully connecting. The only place you can meet God is in the present moment.

Cause you can’t meet him yesterday because that’s gone. And you can’t meet him tomorrow cause that’s not actually here yet. So if you want to engage with God and have a relationship with him, if you don’t do it in the present moment. It’s just a pipe dream. It’s just all in your imagination. and that’s why practicing meditation is about engaging with life in the present moment. And as Christians, we believe that is about engaging with the Lord and on relationship with father, son, and Holy Spirit.

It’s  engaging with in relationships with other people and being aware and attending to the needs of other people. It’s  being aware of the whole of creation. Going on a forest walk, enjoying the beauty of creation. That is all learning. Engaging with the present moment and the blessing is the presence of God right there with you.

In a moment. To me, that refreshes my soul and it restores me on the inside.  He leads me to still waters. He restores my soul. We need to engage with God in the present moment to find restoration.

Adrian: What would be the first step? I’m just thinking of someone who, who literally  might go on that forest walk, but they’re still looking at their phone, never really looking around.

Or, they might pick up the Bible to read it, but after they read a verse or two, suddenly they remember to do things they haven’t done. And so they write this email, send a text message or, or, or your trying to pray and your prayer tends to worrying out loud because you know, you’re worried about this or that. “Help  me not to die of the Corona virus” and, all of those kinds of things or help this or that not to happen. And it’s like worrying out loud sometimes. So, how do people take very first step? Cause I think, I think this thing you’re talking about, it sounds like Lou, what very well for a Buddhist monk or, or maybe a Christian mystic from thousands of years ago, but how does somebody in the 21st century Do it? Perhaps they start by putting down that phone?

Richard: It might be very helpful to do that. The Buddhist speak about monkey mind, if you’d imagine, among key going from branch to branch. Yeah. A little bit chaotic, a little bit all over the place. That can be a bit like our minds, our attention and focus very quickly from one thing to another.

Monkey mind is  actually normal swinging from one branch to another to another and very quickly moving on from one thing to another.

What mindfulness helps us do is it’s a bit like a gym regime for the mind. And if we haven’t used the muscle of our attention, then the chances are we will be very much moving from one thing to another, to another very rapidly, huh. to the point of distraction. So we don’t actually settle, relax, be still.

Be grounded in the present moment. We don’t do that very much. We’re still busy moving from one thing to another. Mindfulness helps us to train the muscle over time so it’s not a quick fix. You know, people want that quick fix. Well, mindfulness is not a quick fix for depression or anxiety or any other mental health issues. But it will gradually build you to be more present in the moment.

Well, initially I encourage that we can focus on our body. Beause our body is always in the present moment. Unlike our minds, which can be focusing on, yesterday or tomorrow. Our body is always here in life. So if we attend to our bodies. Then actually we’re being like Jesus, because he was God incarnate. He was God in the flesh. He lived in a human body. He was present in his human body. So it’s a Christ like quality to live in the present moment. We don’t often think about that.

The body scan meditation is very much looking at scanning through the different parts of our physical body. Very practical exercise, gradually attending to the different areas of our body sweeping up from or feet through your legs to the top of your head. There’s no rush. It’s a bit like repetitions in the gym. Every time your mind wanders away, which it will because you’re human. That is the point. To do the repetition, gradually putting your focus to the present moment.

Adrian: I think people often at that moment beat themselves up. “Oh, you idiot. You are useless. You  can’t even be mindful for 30 seconds, you know? Rubbish!” And then, and then sort of angrily push away the thoughts or indeed the feeling, the emotion that might come flooding in and sort of angry, push it away and try and deny it now.

Is that what we’re supposed to do?

Richard: No, not at all. So part of the essential tools that we have in mindfulness is learning kindness and compassion. It’s a pretty radical concept  because we have often bought into the lie that if we want to please God, then what we do, we need to do is give ourselves a good kicking.

I’ve messed up. and you could give myself a good kicking and get myself sorted. So we have this, we have the theology behind. Severity towards ourselves. That is actually nullifying the post of the cross. So Jesus took the punishment for our sin. This is why I believe that penal substitution is so important.

Jesus took our punishment on the cross. It’s done. It’s finished. Therefore, what on earth are you getting beating up on yourself? Because that’s been paid for! Actually, the very place that God invites us into is a place where we engaged with his kindness, his mercy. His grace. That is possible because of the power of the cross of Jesus.

Adrian: Practically then how do we apply that? Because you know, your thought has just come into your mind. And the temptation, as you say, is to beat yourself up. What do we do instead?

Richard:  Well, it begins with the recognition that beating up in yourself will achieve nothing. In fact, quite the reverse, it will make you feel even worse, and it will prolong the process. We have this self- harsh inner critic, mindfulness helps us gradually learn kindness and then your head space and your heart space will gradually become a kinder place to live.

So self-acceptance and self-compassion are crucial in learning mindfulness. If you became more acutely aware, all right, how harsh you are with yourself. And you did not die of that thing. That would be even worse.

Adrian:  But I think a lot of us do, don’t we? I think CBT can be a bit of a tool like this because the, the anxiety or the negative thoughts, you know, which we all know is unhelpful. but it gets labeled as a negative thought, and then you’re told to sort of replace it. This can sort of appeal a little bit to the sort of the battle for the minds and it has some place, it doesn’t have no place. but it’s a little bit different to what you’re talking about where there’s a sort of an acceptance. I remember somebody, I might’ve even been you saying that, you know, you almost need to allow the thoughts that come into your mind and drift off again, like it’s a cloud and go, Oh, yes, there’s some anxiety.n Yes. I guess it’s understandable. I’m anxious about that, so I’m feeling a bit anxious, but it’ll go, you know, it’ll pass.

Richard:  Yeah. I think the other scripture that comes to mind. Taking every thought captive. Make it now. Yeah. It’s metaphorical language, obviously, but sometimes the way we think that it’s about having this little key. You grab the thought, take it captive and shove it in the cage. And it, it’s locked in the cage. But where’s the cage? Well, it’s going to still be in your head. That can’t be what it means to take every thought captive. You’re not grabbing it to keep it. somehow you have to process it, release it, and ultimately get rid of it.

There has to be a process of release. Letting go. Even if it’s a thought that is wrong or sinful.  It could be, you know, why did they do that to me? How dare they do that to me and instead choosing forgiveness.

eIt’s a moment by moment choice two, bless and release someone, from what they’ve done.

Adrian: Yes. So I guess it’s a little bit like where the Bible talks about costs, your anxieties on him, because he cares. I had somebody say, and again, maybe it was you, maybe it was somebody else. You might actually have to acknowledge the anxiety and say ” I’m worried about this and this is why.” And actually understand why. And then you might say, now God, I’m giving this to you. This is your problem. Now I’m trusting you. I’m stilling my mind. I’m calming my mind. I’m not going to occupy myself with this thing cause I’ve done everything I can.

There’s nothing else I can do. I’ve written my list. I’ve written not to do this. Then yes, I’ll go and see the doctor. Whatever it is I need to do, but, but actually right now I’m passing this to you and I’m going to try and welcome your peace. And so it’s kind of like an actually, sometimes those two things can coexist.

You can be anxious and peaceful for a little bit of time. Or Paul talks about sorrowful yet always rejoicing,. But then five minutes later you might have to go through that process again of giving th anxiety to God,  and then 10 minutes after that,, but then maybe it’s 20 minutes the next time,  and one  hour the next time, and perhaps a whole day after that, and then eventually, constantly, we keep coming back enough. I think some Christians go wrong with this by trying to short circuit the process. They say I’m going to rejoice always no matter what’s happened. And they never really even acknowledge what they’re feeling. And they don’t actually even give it to God. They just say, well, I’m a Christian. I shouldn’t be anxious. I mustn’t be anxious. Jesus told me I mustn’t worry, so therefore I’m not going to worry.

And then we kind of, and we’re actually almost worrying about not worrying..

Richard:  And it doesn’t work. The scripture Has a moment by moment application and there has to be a process by which we move twowards Christ-likeness, not by simply pressing the fast forward button, but by being very real.

I absolutely love the Psalms that help us to express our honest thoughts and feelings. So we can express our more difficult emotions and  difficult thoughts. And if we don’t, then they come back and are stronger.

Adrian: When you actually read some of those psalms, even the one that Jesus quoted on the cross – my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Imagine for a moment, we were on a Sunday morning. And we’re all gathered maybe in a smaller church, and, somebody that has been going through some awful suffering and, you know about it because it’s a smaller church. Suppose there’s a time of open prayer and, and, and that person was to pray. “God, why have you left me? Why are you so far from me? Why have you forsaken me?” I mean, we’d probably throw them out unless we actually remember that was what Jesus prayed on the cross! And that it is in the Psalms. The Psalms are full of things that many Christians today would not think it acceptable or right to say to God!

Richard: Well, absolutely, and I think it’s between 30 and 40% of the Psalms are Psalms of lament, or complaints or confusion, of disorientation. Wait, are you good? What are you doing? God, why is this situation the way that it is? I don’t understand. How long? Oh Lord, will you forget, forget me forever. These are are not just the words. Of someone who wrote in two thousand years ago. God inspired the scriptures to give us a language of prayer because many of us go through these disorientating seasons and we simply do not know what to pray.

God in his graciousness gives us a language. To pray in these difficult situations. And it shows the great mercy of God, that he has, and he has given us the gift of scripture.

Adrian:  So we’ve talked about body scans. We’ve talked about the beginning to go into meditation. You have spoken elsewhere about how even as a young boy, you spend long periods of time in silence, just thinking. Mulling things over, I guess, spending time in the presence of God. Can you just elaborate a little bit more on that for us? What does that look like?

Richard: My early days with meditation were littered with extreme anxiety as a young 20 something guy. I had the theology of grace and the mercy of Christ. I knew that I believed it, but when I came into a place of silence with God, I had this deep sense of anxiety. How do I know that I’m fully accepted for who I am right now? And I had the summer shed in my back garden. I used to sit there for hours in the silence with God, seeking a place of peace, asking those difficult questions because I wanted to step into a place of peace with God.

I wanted to connect my awareness with the peace that is promised in scripture. Yeah. I wanted it to be so much more than just that feel logical, FIDI. so, face of God in silence, and I’ll never forget just a few words that I strongly sensed The Holy spirit said  to me. And these words really form any ministry that God has given me

“Let me love you”

So we know the theology that God loves us, but there’s a connection. It needs to take place in the present moment where we’re not just thinking about the fact that God loves us, where actually connecting. Our awareness in the heart of the reality of this wonderful truth that we are personally, loved and accepted for who we are and we are welcomed into the fathers presence.

It was like the Prodigal son who was traveling on the road home, rehearsing his lines, knowing that he didn’t even deserve to be called a son. So this is not about what we deserve. The gospel never has been about what we deserve.  Oh, thank God for that. It’s always about the greatness of the mercy of Christ as we come before him. He receives us  because of who he is. Not because of who we are.

Adrian:  This is wonderful, as I reflect back over the time we’ve been together, we’ve talked about anxiety, we’ve talked about the crisis that we’re facing. We’ve talked about accepting our own mortality versus. Living in denial. We talked about rushing around. We talked about thinking about things that we shouldn’t be focusing on and being too busy and charging around without ever stopping and being still. We’ve talked about, I suppose a tool that can be secular or Christian: mindfulness practices. You’ve begun to touch on body scans and some of the things that mindfulness is all about, which can feel a bit strange when you first start doing it.

And I guess there are possibilities of groups. And I guess it’s question, do you go to a secular group of Christian groups or do you just do it yourself? and then we’ve talked a bit about meditation, but I feel like there’s so much more that we can talk about this. We could be here all day, but I guess what I was wondering is perhaps as we come to an end of this session, could you just sort of help people to understand if they want to find out more about all of this, what can they do and what resources are available to them?

Richard:  Absolutely. Yeah. well, how about have a look the Christian mindfulness website, Christianmindfulness.co.uk There are a number of free meditation’s resources available there that can help you begin to engage with them. Mindfulness from a Christian perspective. There are the online courses, which we’ll delve a bit deeper into some of the teaching that demonstrates how. Mindfulness can be compatible with a Christian worldview. But for a beginning point, something like, the breathing space meditation, which is available on  for free, if you go on the home page and scroll to the bottom of the home page, you can go straight into that breathing space meditation, and it really helps you to begin to use your breathing. Begin also to acknowledge your current state of mind and your emotional state, whatever that may be, and also to acknowledge the presence of Jesus with you in that moment. It’s the beginning of a process of exercising that muscle of attention. Well, there are so many different things we can focus our attention on, and that is something of the richness of the multifaceted beauty that God has given us in this life.

So many things that we could attend to and of course, Philippians,  speaks about whatever is true, whatever is noble and pure and beneficial and fix your mind on these things. So we have a choice to make where we fix our attention.  We can become everything that Christ wants us to be.

Adrian: When some people hear the word meditation or even mindfulness, if they don’t know what it’s about, they might envisage this idea of everyone’s sitting around cross-legged

And emptying your mind and perhaps in that process, opening your mind up to goodness knows what spiritual influence system. What would you say to someone who said, look, meditation is a Buddhist thing.

Richard: Well, every religious tradition has a meditation tradition. So if we look within Christianity, going through the centuries, there have been monastic and both nuns and monks through the centuries. Catholic, Coptic, Greek Orthodox. Interestingly when it came to the Protestant reformation and we very much zoomed in on, the mind  and everything became about Interpreting the Bible correctly., It’s very important that we understand the Bible correctly, but. In our desire to do so, and we locked off this aspect of meditation. Actually the Bible is full of references to meditation.

Jesus spent much time alone in silence with his father. I don’t think he was yapping on them. Talking to God all the time. He just loved being with his father. He left the presence of his father. Of course, he communicated with language somethings, but being present to another. It’s the essential aspect of what prayer is about.

Adrian: That’s a wonderful place,  to draw things to close. It’s been absolutely delightful to talk to you. And, I think what I would say to my listeners, is, which is absolutely right, that this is a huge journey. and for me, of course, you know, it’s a journey that personally started when I was forced to stop. And, you know, I’ve been wrestling with these things. There’s often a sort of wrestling about some of this isn’t there? nd actually I’ve benefited from a secular mindfulness course that I went to the hospital. I’ve  also benefited, from  two of Richard’s online courses.

One of the things for me, I’ve often sort of been in a hurry. I wanted to move on to the next thing, the next thing. But actually one of the things that it says is that sometimes you just need to focus on one thing. And, I’ve got a silly little app on my watch. Cool. The breathe app, I think everyone who’s got an Apple watch has it. And, and in a way that’s, that’s the mindfulness thing. You could literally just put that on for one minute and focus on your breathing. Watch the ring. As it grew, it expands and watches it go down. And in that moment, you find anxiety begins to go down and you begin to be a bit more present and it can have knock on effects.

The interesting thing about mindfulness is it’s not just about the time you spend meditating, is it? It’s about. It’s spilling over into your life and your approach to life. Yeah. no longer perhaps trying to push away these emotions, but being able to welcome them, process them as we’ve talked about.You almost kind of reason with yourself. It’s kinda like “Okay. I’m, I’m worried about that. I’m feeling anxious about this. Why do I feel anxious about it? Is there anything I can do about that? Maybe, maybe not. But I’m now going to take this to God. And actually, Adrian, you’ve got lots of things to be grateful for as well.” And, you then begin to sort of, as you were talking about, gently put yourself back into a position where you know, the peace of God can come and where, trust in him can come and where joy can come.

And, and it’s a strange thing, sometimes you can look at your life and think, what have I actually got to be grateful for? But there’s always something. There’s always somebody in a worse situation. There’s always a bigger fish. Just that sentence. There’s something you can latch onto to be grateful for, and as you begin to do that, it changes, doesn’t it?

Richard: It does. One thing I would say in that respect is it really often depends on your mood, your ability to find things to be thankful for. Yeah. Is partly dependent on your mood. So for example, if you know, if you’re having a great day and you feel really blessed and encouraged by your family and friends, and you’ve maybe had something exciting happen at work, you’re going to find it easier to be thankful.

If you’ve had a tough day  and your mood is low and it feels a bit like the dark clouds are over here, and your perception becomes clouded. And finding things to be thankful for is a bit more of an effort. Now, of course, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look for them, but it might take a little bit longer.

 

Adrian: You actually have to, you know, find something. It might just be one thing. We’ve not spoken loads about meditating on verses though that is sort of implied in what you’re saying. And there may be a particular verse that, that God is, has given you, that you can turn to in that moment. Maybe a verse from the Psalms, maybe something that reflects how I’m feeling right now. I’m not gonna pretend I’m not feeling this, but this other fact is also true. I’m, struggling, however God is with me, you know. We mentioned Jesus promising that “in this world, you shall have troubles”, but we didn’t Say the second half of the verse, and I feel remiss for that. He says “I’m with you, I have overcome the world!”|.

If I wanted people to be left with any thoughts, it would be that they’re not alone  in the struggle. There are other people that have those struggles. And, I guess one thing in my heart was I’d love to see more opportunity for Christians to talk about some of these things with one another and perhaps to go on this journey together because it can sometimes feel like a bit of a lonely journey, although maybe meditation to some extent, has to be an alone journey. It’s about you and God. And yet there’s also a sense of it being about us and God together.

So, so there’s lots to think through, lots to work out. I would certainly encourage people to, to get in touch with the website, get involved in some of these online courses.  And also we need to just sometimes, stop and, and get away on, go to a quiet place.

I mean, Jesus said that, didn’t they? Sometimes he went on his own. Sometimes he took his disciples with him. and, and actually, interestingly, what did his disciples ask? “Teach us to pray” . We see what you’re doing and we can’t do this and we need it. I think there’s a lot to be done, and I’m very grateful in God for your ministry, Richard.

And it’s a ministry that. You know, for what it’s worth, I’d whole heartedly endorse,  to people that are listening or watching wherever they are.  I would encourage people perhaps to share this or with their friends if they know someone who’s struggling or if they know someone who isn’t struggling and perhaps need to stop, like we were talking about earlier and take stock.

I really hope that, and pray actually that this, that this one is more than an hour now we’ve spent talking, but would it have been helpful? and. You know, we talked about poor concentration cause sometimes it takes this sort of long form to sit and listen maybe on a podcast. Cause this will go out as a podcast as well.

Mmm. To actually trying to absorb something. I hope, if nothing else, that people have got a little bit of a flavor of what this Christian mindfulness and meditation and dealing with emotions in a more general sense, is all about. And so thank you very, very much, Richard, and very, very grateful, to you for joining us.

No. Is there any sort of last things you’d want to say to people who’ve been listening? Apart from the obvious one of go check out the website.

Richard:  Well, one thought that comes to mind is  the private victories lead to public victories. Well, who you are in the secret place with God is crucial. So don’t think that your public persona has more value than your private persona because God looks at the heart. So I have to encourage anyone listening to this or watching this too, invest in that secret place with God. And it’s from that secret place that will  make you more like Christ in the inner places of your heart and mind so that he can use you more powerfully than you could have ever imagined.

Adrian:  Wonderful. I really think that is a fantastic place to stop. Thank you so much for joining us, Richard Johnston, not Johnson. Wonderful to meet you, through this sort of online tool. and, I, I really feel that there’s a lot that. We can learn from you. And I’m grateful to God, for the journey that he’s, he’s brought you through, in order that you can be a blessing to others.

One of my favorite verses is God comforts us in the troubles that we go through in order that we can comfort others. And I hope that in that strictest sense of the sense of the word comfort, which isn’t just “there, there” but actually also giving us strength, that hopefully this interview will give strength to other people. Help them on their journeys. So if, this has raised any questions in your mind, you know, do feel free to get in touch with either myself or Richard. and we, we were there to try and help and support. And there are other opportunities, I’m sure with pastors in your church and others.

There are also helplines. Sometimes these things can really stir you up. I mean the first time I did the body scan. I didn’t really like my body very much at that point cause it had let me down in so many ways and I found some incredibly strong emotions were stirred up.

So it’s, it’s not, it’s not always a straightforward, a calming thing, but I’m very glad I pressed through. And so for me personally, I think this is something that we should explore a long side. “ordinary” praying worship music, which can itself be quite mindful if you sit and listen and Worship God with music in your own time.

Richard:  Yeah. We’d see that. If anyone does find it more difficult, like this mindfulness, I, we’d encourage you to speak to your doctor or mental health professional. Yeah. Typically engaging with mindfulness can be helpful for people maybe with mild forms of depression.

If you have a more longterm mental health condition, then we’d encourage you to speak to your doctor.  And have a discussion about that.

Adrian: And in that situation that a course, even if it’s not run by a Christian, might actually be of some help. you know, the NHS does actually run some of these courses.

There are, I know, for example as well that there’s a residential course, which isn’t just about mindfulness, but I think it touches on it. the Penny Brohen trust,   for people with cancers specifically, where you can go away for a couple of days. And actually it’s something I’m thinking of doing myself. Haven’t done it yet. There were all sorts of things and opportunities. And I think as Christians sometimes we were in our own little bubble. and actually we, we can be great to connect with a Christian context, but unfortunate there’s only one, Richard. I mean, I guess there are some more people, and that’s something that I’d love to talk to you more about some other point, but how we can actually roll some of this out and in a way that our churches, and our communities can be blessed by some of this stuff.

There are some Christian retreat centers as well. Sometimes it’s a little bit difficult, you know, knowing how to navigate all of this, and that’s maybe something that, you know, w we can try and address in the future, both on your blog and obviously on mine.

Rich, has got a blog. there’s materials that over on his website are free to view, and then there’s obviously the opportunity to subscribe and such, like, as well. and, and, you know, it might, you might think, well, why would I want to pay money? But, if you go for counseling, I’ll tell you, it gets very expensive.

And some of this stuff, as you say, can be appropriate. and maybe alongside counseling. I think that’s the thing. Sometimes people need to try in different ways. You might need medicine and mindfulness. You might need counseling. and mindfulness. You might want to read a book about CBT and do something else.

So it’s kind of, it’s not one thing or the other

Richard: Iit’s not. I think a multipronged approach can be really helpful. So speak to friends and family. you know, maybe counseling, maybe medication. Yeah. Maybe mindfulness, or a combination of these, will really help in someone’s recovery from a mental health struggles.

Adrian:Yeah. All right. Well, thanks so much. I really ought to let you go. Thank you very much for your time. It’s been wonderful. God bless.

Richard:   God bless.

 

 

 

 

 


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