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Teaching Meditation to Children

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    From: Let the Bud of Life Bloom A Guide to Raising Happy and Healthy Children By Swami Rama ISBN 818815704X Reprinted with permission of the Publisher
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 22, 2006
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      From:
      Let the Bud of Life Bloom
      A Guide to Raising Happy and Healthy Children
      By Swami Rama
      ISBN 818815704X
      Reprinted with permission of the Publisher
      Copyright Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust
      http://hihtindia.org/


      TEACHING MEDITATION TO CHILDREN
      Swami Rama

      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 discriminate—to 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
      friends.

      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 levels—physical, 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.

      http://swamij.com
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