Updated: Jan 1, 2019
“Wait,” he said in a bewildered but calm 9-year old voice, his eyes wide and on me. We were squished in a corner between a high chest of drawers and his bedroom door. He had pushed himself off the cushions we usually leaned against when working together and was lying on his back on the floor.
I didn’t immediately know what to do. His eyes were usually anyplace but on me. Wait wasn’t typically part of his vocabulary. He typically wanted me to rush, move faster, talk less, and do what he wanted to do–or, more accurately, do what he ordered me to do. And now he wanted me to wait and he was looking at me?
I finally gave him a simple “Okay.”
“Something happened,” he said, “I’m all calm.”
“That’s what’s supposed to happen,” I said.
“Oh,” he said softly as if still trying to grapple with what just happened to his body. Then, “Would you do it again?” he asked.
I smiled and took him through the two-minute meditation a second time.
Moments after I ended the second meditation, he was eager to move on. Two minutes later, he said he didn’t feel calm anymore.
I’m sure that was true, but I was still pleased. I believe I noticed some increased focus and less motion. More importantly, we learned that although calm was not yet sustainable, it was available to him. With practice, it could become more and more sustainable.
I’ve used this meditation with myself and several other students. Some said they became calm, others said sleepy, and others said relaxed. They all said they liked it. It certainly relaxes me.
TWO MINUTE MEDITATION:*
“Lie down (or sit up)….
Close your eyes and relax….
Make everything quiet. …
Quiet hands…. Quiet feet… Quiet mouth… Quiet body….
Now, through your nose… take in a long slow breath… hold it (4 seconds)…now let it out slowly through your nose….
Again…. Inhale slowly through your nose… hold it… exhale slowly through your nose….
One last time…. Inhale slowly through your nose… hold it…and exhale slowly through your nose….
Now I’m going to ring some bells and I want you to listen to them until you hear the sound no longer….
Again, listen to the bells… until you hear it no longer….
One last time, listen to the bells until you hear it no longer….
Now take in a long slow breath and let i out through your nose….
Say after me: I am complete and wonderful….
Take in another long slow breath… and let it out…. When you are ready…open your eyes….”
When I do this, I use tingsha bells but a bowl or other bells would suffice.
I’ve often wondered what type of effect a two-minute meditation every day could have on a child. I believe it would be something positive.
Research seems to substantiate this. Studies have shown that simply inhaling and exhaling 3-6 long slow breaths can change brain chemistry for the better.
*This meditation is an adaptation of one I learned from Ranjani Richards who adapted a Tibetan meditation.
Thank you, Ranjani.
For more information on the benefits of meditation for children take a look at Goldie Hawn’s TED TALK with Dr. Dan Siegel.
If you are interested in learning more about meditation for children, you may want to take a look at the following links.
The Power of Your Child’s Imagination: How to transform Stress and Anxiety into Joy and Success — Charlotte Reznick Ph.D. This book along with several children’s meditation CDs can be found on Dr. Reznick’s website Imagery for Kids.
Mindfulness Skills for Kids and Teens — Debra Burdick
Look for a YouTube video of this meditation in the not too distant future.