Most people are curious about a child’s ability to meditate. Many adults can’t seem to find the time nor have the patience, so people wonder how could a child sit still long enough to meditate? Remarkably, children love to meditate. Meditation allows children to use their creative imagination without limitation.
Meditation has proven effective with helping children become more attentive, which begins with a child’s ability to focus on himself. Meditation is a time for children to explore their inner world. Children are fascinated with clouds in the sky and stories on television; however, they are often most captivated by their own thoughts.
There are several meditation techniques borrowed from various cultures that help children thrive in today’s world. Some of these techniques involve comfortable relaxing concentration. Others are journeys through time and space within ones mind. Many adults have trouble opening their inner mind to see, feel and hear the element of their meditation. Children, on the other hand, are by nature open and imaginative.
The facilitator of the child’s experience determines the success his meditation. Anyone can become a dynamic child meditation facilitator, whether they are a parent, teacher or therapist. The facilitator should be familiar with the most important benefits a child attains through meditation, practice and awareness. When a child meditates, he practices something in his head so later it is easier for him to carry out the particular action or feeling. Meditation also brings into consciousness thoughts the child is unaware of during normal consciousness.
Practice: something we do so we feel better later
When we practice a process in our minds, we are able to successfully repeat this process in the real world. Simply stated, we do something in our heads so we feel better later. This is similar to working out our body at the gym. We strengthen our biceps so we are able to lift a heavy box later that week. Likewise, during meditation, seven-year-old Ashley practices how to feel and the let go of her anger during a grounding meditation. Because she has practiced this during meditation it is easier for her to process her anger later.
The most ideal practice meditations bring calmness and focus to a child. These meditations are quite grounding, that is they bring a child into balance with the natural rhythms of the earth, which results in physical stability and emotional ease. A child can practice these meditations absolutely anywhere, even in her classroom when she begins to feel distracted or frustrated.
The Sleepy Cloud meditation is another excellent example of a practice meditation. This exercise helps a restless child bring sleepy thoughts into her inner mind, allowing her to fall asleep more easily.
Awareness: Seeing thoughts hidden deep down inside our minds
Meditation is also useful for bringing into consciousness a subconscious thought. For example, Keith practices a release meditation with his father during which a picture of a frightening movie scene appears in his mind. When he shares this, his father learns that this scene may be causing the anxiety he has been expressing recently. This awareness prompts a conversation about the scene, and coupled with more meditation, Keith finds peace.
An effective awareness meditation is the Happy Tree meditation, during which the child sees a tree with happy and sad fruit. This is a metaphorical journey for the child. In many ways the sad fruit and the tree represent her sadness and the happy fruit represent her happiness. During the meditation, the child nurtures her sad fruit in a special way. Since this is a metaphorical journey, the parent and child can become aware that ways in which she nurtures her sad fruit can also help her understand how she can nurture herself.