Teaching Meditation to Children
Let the Bud of Life Bloom
A Guide to Raising Happy and Healthy Children
By Swami Rama
Reprinted with permission of the Publisher
Copyright Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust
TEACHING MEDITATION TO CHILDREN
When you practice meditation, initially you come in touch with
yourself and all your thought patterns; you come to understand your
inner dialogue. Then, you learn to discriminateto select and reject;
and finally, you learn how to work with yourself. These seeds should
be sown in childhood.
Instead, believers of all faiths, clinging to external rituals,
impose their ideals on their children and force them to participate
in their time-honored customs. Children are taught to love and to
worship pictures of Christ, Krishna, or other gods and goddesses, and
sometimes even community or religious leaders. This does not help
them to become independent or to acquire peace of mind. Children need
to be taught how to cultivate divine virtues within themselves; they
need to be taught how to look within, and how to find within in order
to attain freedom. I think if everyone were to be given a spiritual
education in childhood, they would have fewer problems living in the
world. Without understanding the values of spirituality, with all its
currents and crosscurrents, one becomes lost living in this jungle
that is called world. The world is the real jungle; that which is
considered to be the jungle is not the real jungle.
Most diseases originate in childhood. Children become ill because
they have not learned the means of acquiring peace of mind. Why do
you not lead your children to silence before they learn to be active?
Mothers can do this if they are friends with their children. But
these days mothers have no time. They go out and enjoy themselves
while their children remain at home. The lack of communication
between the younger generation and the parents is creating great
chaos. First of all, you have to learn to respect the family
institution where parents become counselors to their children, and
where children accept their parents, not only as parents, but also as
When you make meditation a part of your life, your children will
follow your example. Exemplary education is very important for
children. Children imitate their parents; you don't have to teach
them to meditate. Never do that. You should teach your children
through example how to sit quietly and make their minds one-pointed.
When you sit in meditation, your child will also come and sit next to
you and pretend to do what you are doing. In this way the child will
come to know what you are doing and will also form the habit of
sitting with you.
I used to do that in my childhood. When my master would sit in
meditation, I would sit next to him. When I wanted his attention, I
would climb onto his lap. He wouldn't say anything to me, so I would
do something to get his attention. Then he would rub my forehead, and
I did not know what had happened. I am sure I was not sleeping. If
you sit in meditation, and your child comes and sits next to you and
closes his eyes, it is very helpful for the child. Do you think the
child is meditating? I say the child is meditating better than you
are. Even when a child simply imitates you when you are meditating,
it is very helpful for the child.
Meditation is a very powerful thing that gives helpful vibrations to
all. When you meditate, it definitely affects your children. If you
record the brain waves of a child who is sleeping while you are
meditating, you will find a difference. Even your plants and your
pets are affected when you meditate. Instead of imposing your ego or
your emotional problems on your children in the name of discipline,
please discipline yourself, and then your children will also learn.
As a part of our educational training we must define spirituality in
its most precise and universal terms. Spirituality means that which
helps us to discipline our thoughts, speech, and actions; that which
leads us toward the center of consciousness, and thereby helps to
unfold our inner potentials. Education based on such spiritual
guidelines will help humanity to become self-reliant and confident.
Only education based on spirituality can bring harmonious balance to
both our external and inner life.
We need not force children to believe that there is a God. However,
we should provide them with the opportunity to unfold their inner
potentials, to gain confidence, and to become inspired to search for
God according to their own inner tendencies and capacity. For
children to learn to cultivate divine virtues within themselves, the
knowledge of theories that prove the existence of God is not as
important as to learn how to discipline oneself. Through self-
discipline God can be experienced directly.
Spiritual practices, undertaken at an early age, have a profound and
long lasting effect. Human beings have tremendous potential provided
they are taught to train themselves on all levelsphysical, mental,
and spiritual. Let us teach our children how to become aware of
themselves on all levels. With a calm and one-pointed mind, children
can obtain a glimpse of true peace and happiness.