I don’t have time to meditate.
Do you have time to feel like shit? –Gabrielle Bernstein
Meditating is such a difficult process to get into the rhythm of. At the same time, I think it could be the easiest practice in the world to get used to. I definitely live on the side of difficult. I hate reminding myself to quiet my mind and just breathe, just go within. I think it has something to do with being fearful of what is “within.” In retrospect, it’s probably the silliest thing in the world to be afraid of, but at the same time, meeting yourself does indeed sound like a daunting task.
Like many people, I get nervous about spending too much time with myself, or exploring my thoughts too closely, too intimately. And so, I brush off meditating, I brush off sitting in silence, quieting my body and mind. Although I may be terrible at meditating myself, I’ve decided to make my four fifth graders do it every morning. I’m using the old “teaching is the best way to learn” method. When my boys quiet their minds, close their eyes, and open their palms, I try to do it too. Then, in the middle of the day, I try to sit quietly at my desk, to set an example. At the same time however, I’m cheating. As the teacher, I have to keep one eye open to make sure no one is beating on any of the other kids. So, I don’t find myself in the position to really start exploring the depths of my soul. Which, on the surface, is something I appreciate.
Despite my discomfort about exploring who I am, I recognize the benefits of meditation. And, as Gabby B. says, if you don’t take the time to meditate, you’re leaving yourself at risk to not being your best self, your healthiest self. Indeed, you are “going without” if you are not taking the time to go within through meditation.
As a fifth grade teacher, working on the grounds of an all boys orphanage, the need to find quiet is almost required for survival. The amount of confusion and stress that exists on a daily basis in my life—which is a reflection of the confusion and stress in the life of the boys—is a direct push toward meditation. After all, meditation is medication.
And so, it’s been two months since I introduced my nine and ten-year-olds to meditations. It’s helping them and it’s helping me, I think. One of the teachers told me that she was present one evening when the entire group of boys at the orphanage was in trouble with the director of the orphanage. She scolded the boys and told them that they were all required to sit in quiet for five minutes without making any noise. If a single boy spoke, the five minutes would restart. According to the observing teacher, she said the fifth and sixth grade boys responded by sitting with their legs crossed, closing their eyes, and opening their palms to the sky. Other boys followed suit. Perhaps there is a little ripple effect happening. Perhaps.
I still get complaints from the boys some mornings, saying that they don’t want to meditate, but once they’re in the act of actually going within, they tend to sit peacefully and are rather composed, taken with their thoughts.
I remember hearing a talk from Wayne Dyer years ago. In it, he spoke about how if each child in the world was taught how to mediate, and they did so each morning for just a small amount of time, there would be no more wars. This sounds dramatic, but I believe it. And so, the seeds of hope continue to be planted. We continue to go within, so we don’t have to go without.
I’ll be interested in seeing if the boys will have any meditation stories after the long Christmas break is over.