I’ve been practicing and teaching meditation to all ages for over 15 years. I think most of us wish we started becoming aware of our mind chatter ‘way back when.’ Our thoughts, in any given second, could be running old tapes or stuck on thinking about the past or the future—sometimes all at the same time! The practice of noticing our thoughts, in all their shapes and forms and emotions, can be a never-ending process, and that’s perfectly fine!
Learning to listen to the ‘monkey mind’ is one way to become more present with it. Once we begin that, we are able to acknowledge what is there, and then work with moving thoughts through. When we can actively watch our thoughts, we can choose to replace those thoughts with images or nothingness. Nothingness is a little more challenging, but there are many ways you can practice holding silence in your mind.
How can we help our children?
First, you can help them practice holding one thought or image in their mind. This begins to train the mind. The mind is a muscle, and hence, we must build that muscle or it can get away from us and travel to many places all by itself. A great way to do this is to close your eyes and hold an image for as long as you can.
Have your child pick out a simple picture. This could be of a flower, a favorite character, or an animal. Ask them to stare at it for a moment, and then close their eyes and continue to hold that image in their mind. Tell them seeing the image in their mind is like holding a thought. Whenever the image disappears or their mind wanders somewhere to another thought, they will tell you and immediately open their eyes. Look at the picture again, and practice one more time. Continue for as long as they are interested, but not overdoing it. They can practice this many times during the day with pictures or with anything they see.
This exercise can help children (and adults) focus on one thing. It trains the mind to stay present without jumping quickly to something else. Meditation isn’t only about silencing the mind; it’s also about holding one thought.
I teach a version of this meditation in my adult classes too. It’s a great game to play with kids and will help as they grow and learn many more things in life. Holding a thought or an image for longer periods allows the mind to rest also. This is meditation. This is a life-long practice.
Have questions? Email me at DBoyleMedium@gmail.com, or post a comment here. Share this with your friends and any teachers you know too!
In service with Spirit,