Tag Archives: Meditation

Mindful Kids

children photo

As more parents, grandparents, teachers and child-care workers find meaning and wholeness in practicing mindfulness, they are introducing it to children as well.

Meditation and yoga are becoming popular in classrooms and after-school programs. As children learn age-appropriate ways to meditate, they build stronger relationships, do better in school, and become better able to deal with strong emotions.

If a golden age of stress-free childhood ever actually existed, those days are long past. Bullying, parental divorce and academic pressures are regular life for many children. According to research studies and teacher reports, mindfulness practice can help them cope.

In one inner city elementary school, for example, teachers promote emotional intelligence through Yale University’s RULER program, which includes ten minutes of meditation a day. Children trained as peer educators lead their classmates in guided meditations such as “May I be free from suffering and stress. No stress.”

The program is resulting in improved academic performance, more positive relationships and enhanced physical and psychological well-being for the students.

And meditation doesn’t just help troubled children. As young people learn greater awareness of their thoughts, feelings, bodies and environments, they grow emotionally.

Mindful Schools is an organization that has brought mindfulness practice to over 300,000 K-12 students in 60 countries. The program takes teachers and counselors through a six-week course where they learn to cultivate present-moment awareness through meditation and yoga so they can share these practices from their own experience.

When they finish training, they bring a research-based curriculum in mindfulness to their schools and counseling centers. With age-appropriate activities that involve simple language and movement, the teachers explain mindfulness and teach the children how and why to practice it.

The course emphasizes practical skills. The children learn, for example, that “mindfulness is noticing what is happening in the present moment…. It can help us calm down when we are angry, sad, frustrated, or have any difficult emotion.”

The youngest students learn to sit quietly, pay attention to their physical sensations and listen to sounds, thereby absorbing mindfulness in a way they can understand.

As children get older, the program guides them in thinking and talking about locating themselves in the present moment and how this lets them contact inner sources of strength.

Preliminary results of a study involving 937 children in Mindful Schools programs demonstrate gains in paying attention, calming difficult feelings and showing greater caring and respect for others.

Learning this kind of emotional fitness early on builds a foundation for meeting life with wisdom and confidence. What a gift for both children and society.

Meditation on Qualities of Mind, Heart and Body

Meditate on your mind as peace : : Your heart is peace : : Your body is peace

Meditate on your mind as wisdom : : Your heart is wisdom : : Your body is wisdom

Meditate on your mind as contentment : : Your heart is contentment : : Your body is contentment

Meditate on your mind as balance : : Your heart is balance : : Your body is balance


What if you took a day with a few other people and turned your attention to unrest we cause when we do injury to this planet? What ideas might you come up with? What small, practical steps could you, together, begin to take?

Take a moment to find peace at the center of your being, the peace beneath the turmoil. Your heart is like a stone that rests at the bottom of a stream as water gurgles above it.

Meditate for three minutes, just noticing your breath coming into and leaving your body. This will lower your cortisol level.


You made a number of wise decisions today. What were some of them?

A human resources manager described how she finds her intuitive heart. “It’s the same voice that tells me which person to hire out of all the good people who make the final cut.” How do you find your own wise inner voice?

Feel gratitude for the heart that has been beating without your deliberately thinking about it since you were in your mother’s womb.


You may wish to take stock of the many good things you’ve done this week. Write about them. Appreciate the person that accepted challenges, helped people, worked hard and skillfully.

Enjoy the ease and satisfaction you get from remembering when you did something hard, something you didn’t want to do, something that scared you. You did it anyway. You grew bigger and more robust as a result. Your spirit is happier now than it was before.

You’ve moved your body this week. Perhaps you’ve lifted weights, walked, danced, done yoga. Now consider buying vegetables of all colors, slicing and chopping them to make a meal full of delicious flavors. You know what else to use – whole grains, coconut oil, meats from farms that raise animals responsibly.


You might practice listening to different sides of issues. Talk to someone with different political beliefs: a liberal, a conservative. Hear this person with an open mind, with a decision to understand why they see things the way they do. Look for the common ground you share. You will see that this person’s story is your own story.

Listen to your heart about the tragedy of Freddie Gray. Feel your compassion for the young man whose life has been cut short. Feel your compassion for the police officers. Every human person has the intention to do what they believe is good.

Again, meditate for three minutes to bring your physical plant into harmony. It strengthens your immune system and lowers your blood pressure.

Readers: What are more ways to honor our peace, wisdom, contentment and balance?

Healing Self Esteem

So many of us are self-critical to the point where we dislike ourselves.

The Dalai Lama was meeting with a group of Western psychologists when the subject of poor self-esteem came up. He indicated that he didn’t understand this concept. After much discussion with his translator he finally said: we just don’t have that issue in Tibetan culture. Not only do we not have words for this, this condition doesn’t exist for us.

Would that we could say the same thing in the west. Those who were most severely criticized, rejected, or abused as children can suffer terribly with self-criticism and dislike of themselves. Even if we were mostly treated well as children, it’s hard to find someone in our lives who doesn’t struggle in some way with self-esteem.

There are people who seem to have too much self-esteem, but if one’s sense of self isn’t based on a balanced and realistic embrace of weaknesses and strengths, an over-aggrandized sense of self-importance will deflate in the face of real hardship. When this person falls, they fall hard.

“Ok,” you say, “I know I’m too hard on myself. I’m much kinder to others than I am to myself. But I’ve always been this way. What can I do?”

Beginning a practice of the Loving-Kindness Meditation could help ease your harsh judgments of yourself.

The Loving-Kindness Meditation is a short series of intentions you can say to yourself silently or aloud:

May I be filled with loving-kindness.

May I be well in body and mind.

May I be free of anger and anxiety.

May I be peaceful and at ease.

A number of my clients have begun repeating this meditation to themselves a few times throughout their day or perhaps for a longer period of time in the morning or evening. They always say it helps. Often within the first week they notice a significant shift in how they feel about themselves.

“Those are nice words,” you may say. “But I don’t believe I could ever be that way. Really loving to myself? Free of anxiety? It would feel like I’m just going through the motions if I tried doing that meditation.”

So take the risk and try it anyway. As you say the words, they become a part of you.