There is one big thing that both new and experienced Western meditators suffer over, and that’s that we didn’t start our practice sooner. Right?! I mean, things are as they are and we accept them as they are etc. etc., but where was meditation when stress levels from standardized testing and general pressures of being a kid careening toward adulthood started looming? Childhood is the ultimate Beginner’s Mind, and seemingly the perfect time to instill the value of a peaceful mind and heart.
Luckily, the growing amount of research available on the effects of meditation, mindfulness, and compassion is starting to slowly penetrate the educational system, with some schools even swapping out detention for meditation (!!!!). In the documentary Innsaei (The Sea Within), a UK school is featured that takes daily “Brain Breaks” in which students with adorable accents get to take a moment to meditate and discuss topics like compassion and empathy.
Hopefully we will watch this trend continue, and we at the DEN feel that part of our purpose is to give parents the tools and opportunity to give this invaluable gift to their children. The DEN Kid’s Series is a weekly, four-session course from April 23rd – May 14th, which will allow the lil’ rascals to gain a deeper understanding of the mind/body connection, sensory perception, and their interconnection with all beings. Not to mention, this course can start to build a foundation for a practice that will serve them well into their teen and adult years. The DEN also offers private sessions for a more targeted experience as well as a weekly Family Sit each Sunday which features guided meditations geared toward families.
As a parent of a child that will grow up with limitless distractions coming at them from every angle, we can use meditation as a way of counteracting some of the negative effects of our very busy culture. As adults, we know that having a sense of equanimity around events in life that we can’t control is pretty essential to our sense of well-being, and this is something we attempt to cultivate in our own practice. When asked what advice you’d give your childhood self, most people talk about worrying less… not sweating the small stuff, etc., which are also very common reasons for adopting a meditation practice. Now we have the opportunity to give our children the tools to meet their circumstances, emotions, and monkey mind with equanimity and compassion.