Our children are like sponges. They soak in everything around them. It’s scary sometimes. They reflect back what undeniably came from us, and we are not so proud of it. At other times, we are relieved to know that we got something right. Or maybe we are outright patting ourselves on the back!
Children, in theory, do not need to learn meditation. They are present and fully engaged. That’s how they are so spontaneously smart, witty and able to find the loop-holes and dance circles around their adult counterparts. They give their full attention to what is in front of them. They are unlimited and resourceful, and, until they are taught otherwise, all things are possible. They are truly a reminder of how we can be.
We, on the other hand, have a lot on our minds. We worry. We process. We spend a lot of our creative energy on imagining all of the things that can go wrong than on enjoying the present moment and allowing ourselves to build on the perfection of it.
We are overwhelmed and distracted by the many different directions from which we are pulled. We do the best we can to manage our emotions and the physical tension that comes with it, and often our efforts fall short.
And like a sponge, our children absorb. They absorb our energy.
If we don’t know how to manage the overwhelm that we are experiencing; if we are stressed out, frustrated and anxious, how can we expect our children to know what to do with that energy that they so readily absorb into their little bodies? How can we expect them to “calm down, sit still and behave?”
Once they become of school age, they absorb additional energies from the teachers and staff. It is common knowledge how overworked, stressed and under-nourished our teachers are; they have put everyone else first. Add to that the pressures of homework, different learning styles, disciplinary actions in the classrooms and the peer experience. They get a daily cocktail of frazzled and ungrounded energy which works against the child’s ability to stay present, grounded and connected to his calm, his inner voice and highest Self. Cooperation and creative inquiry can become a pipe dream.
Meditation is a powerful tool that helps to elevate sense of self, increase calm, clarity and focus and better manage emotional disarray. With regular practice, it becomes a transformative tool that reaches beyond overcoming the next emotional crisis and into a re-creation of one’s total life experience built on purpose and alignment of one’s true essence.
A child can learn to meditate on his own at the age of 7, when she is more naturally and developmentally ready to take a journey into her intellect; as she shifts mentally from wants to shoulds. With an abundance of unbalanced, competitive energy out there that works to degrade an individual’s self-esteem, meditation is a powerful anecdote that, once learned, is easily accessible anywhere. No mats, instruments or special tools necessary.
Prior to that age, a child learns through imitation. A parent can show by example. Meditation benefits the parent(s)! And thereby benefits the child who now has access to calm, grounded and purposeful energy to absorb and imitate. While you meditate, they may sit next to you, or on you, to copy what you do. This is your opportunity to count your lucky stars, take this as a gift, not an intrusion, nor an opportunity to stop meditating and teach your child how to “do it right.” Just to allow the sponging to happen.
Sacred Playground: Meditation for Children ages 7-14
Yoga & Meditation for adults: see class schedule.
Kundalini Yoga Quotes:
“I’d never felt anything like it; it was just an opening of energy and a feeling of such liberation.” -Marika Bethel, owner, Glowing House