the meditative child

i remember as a child, being woken up at 3am and taken by my parents to the mosque in twilight.  i'd sit motionless for an hour in the pitch dark, breathing and repeating... and waiting for the appearance of  'the light'. 

so naturally i am intrigued at the growing interest in parents and caregivers to help children meditate. in the last few weeks, i've seen adverts for events geared to help children meditatebooks on the subject by notables like goldie hawn, and social media groups promoting meditation for children. 

all of this is great. heck, i should know, i'm practically a poster-child. 

yet when i started it was simply what was done as a matter of faith. today people are turning to meditation to help their children cope and manage attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (adhd), manage stress levels and anxiety through mindfulness-based stress reduction (mbsr) or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (mbct), and work through their trauma and fear. 

you may wonder... how can children bear so much? well, think back. did you? sure, we all did. and let's face it, meditation beats popping pills.

which brings me the sources of children's stress. we know kids model their behaviour after us, so we should ask ourselves... how do we manage our own stress? it becomes clear that for anyone wanting their child to learn meditation, mindfulness for the parent is a must.   

the description of an upcoming workshop on mindfulness for parents explains: "faced with issues such as fatigue and frustration, we have the chance to discover things about ourselves and the world that we might never experience otherwise. when we are mindful and aware we receive the opportunity to cultivate unconditional acceptance, patience, and loving-kindness."

who wouldn't want that for their children? and for themselves?  

the underlying message here is that our children are our teachers. we attract what we attract, and if we are stressed, chances are our children are stressed. if our children are in need of care, compassion, acceptance and discipline, then chances are... we are too.

"we are incapable of loving another unless we love ourselves, 
just as we are incapable of teaching our children self-discipline 
unless we ourselves are self-disciplined. it is actually impossible to foresake 
our own spiritual development in favour of someone else's." 
- m. scott-peck, author of the road less travelled