NEW BOOK: Mindful Formation

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Could biblically-rooted ‘mindful formation’ be the answer to our spiritual and mental health crisis?

‘Shaun’s wisdom surrounding the cultivation of a mindful awareness of both God and self is clear as he guides the reader, enabling “moments of meeting” with the Lord.’
Rev Dr Kate Middleton, Director of Mind and Soul Foundation

We are formed by what we pay attention to. But in our multimedia age, with smart phones, social media and 24-hour news cycles, our capacity for attention is in crisis. Unable to attune ourselves to God’s presence and our true selves, many are overwhelmed by stress and anxiety. Reclaiming this ability, our attention, is the primary spiritual task of our time – and it is the goal of ‘mindful formation’.

Author and Baptist minister Shaun Lambert has rich personal experience and academic expertise in this area. Having experienced mental health distress himself in the 2000s, he found a way to reclaim his attention through ‘mindful spiritual formation’. Subsequently, he trained as a psychotherapist, has led multiple retreats and has recently completed a PhD on the topic. All this knowledge is accessibly shared in his new book Mindful Formation. Rooted in Scripture, it blends personal examples with the latest insights from the worlds of psychology and psychotherapy.

In the book, Shaun shares how his lack of spiritual formation had allowed the trauma of childhood separation anxieties to go unnoticed. Sent to boarding school at a very young age, the coping mechanisms he had created as a child were now damaging his relationships as an adult and driving him towards a mental health crisis. However, as the Holy Spirit gently helped him to reconnect with God’s presence through mindful spiritual formation, he was also able to connect with his true, inner self, and to heal from his childhood trauma.

‘The structure of the book takes us on a spiral journey of transformation and liberation,’ says Shaun, ‘beginning with the retrieval of the ancient contemplative strand of mindfulness of God. Through this graced attention to God we learn to reclaim our present moments where our time and God’s presence intersect and our attentional capacities are liberated from cultural captivity.

‘In this process, through spiritual practices, we are enabled to remember our Christian values in each ethical moment of choice and to choose them over the cultural values jostling for our attention. As the Holy Spirit enables us to reperceive life with greater clarity, we recognise our own God-given creative identity. In this recognising, we are led to a place of awakened, respectful language where conflict with others is replaced with sacramental conversation and the transforming possibilities of moral imagination.’

We are all far more ‘spiritual’ than we know, capable of an emotional and mental integrity that enables us to be truly ourselves and connect deeply with others. Synthesising ancient contemplative rhythms, modern psychology research, rich theological perspectives and distinctive spiritual practices, Shaun distils how we can each find a path to spiritual liberation through mindful formation.

‘Offers a thorough-going framework for mindful formation in the Christian life. The subtitle does not over-promise – in chronicling his own spiritual liberation Lambert illuminates this ancient pathway for Christians today.’
Dr Amy Oden, Adjunct Professor of Early Church History and Spirituality

 

Mindful Formation by Shaun Lambert (ISBN: 9781912726813) is published by Instant Apostle and is available on 17th May 2024 from bookshops and online retailers. Christian Life, paperback, 288pp, £13.99.

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  • Shaun Lambert

    Shaun Lambert is a writer, psychotherapist, mindfulness researcher, Baptist minister, and honorary mindfulness chaplain to the Scargill Movement. He is...

  • Mindful Formation

    Shaun Lambert

    Our capacity for attention, assailed by the virtual world and the demands of modern media, is in crisis. Reclaiming our attention from their gravitational pull is the primary spiritual task of our time – and the goal of mindful formation. Sharing his own...