Saturday, October 27, 2012

Teaching children to meditate

I remember a bit Raymond Carver wrote, where says something like, "at one point the kids took over, and I took to writing in my car in the garage."

One time I tried to teach my son's cousin to meditate and my two sons joined in. I taught them a form of metta bhavana, a kind of positive thinking meditation. We got into position, sat for 5 minutes thinking about lovingkindness in the world. They all liked it, but my son's were not wild about it, and they haven't really asked me to do it again, and declined when I asked if they wanted.

This morning my 8 year old son, the older one, woke up and I asked him if he wanted to meditate.  He said OK. I've been focusing on anapanasati, so I got him seated, told the story of the Anapanapati Sutta, and said to follow his breath. Sit up straight and proud. (My son is slumping a little in the picture after it was over.) If he thinks about something else, when you realize, kindly and gently go back to the breath. We sat for 5 minutes.

I asked him how it went. He said he realized he needed to brush his teeth. He said it was good. His eyes were bothering him, and after meditating they didn't any more. That was why I asked him to meditate, he couldn't really say what was going on with his eyes, and I wanted him to tune into himself a little.

I went to a public meditation at the bodies exhibit, and I was jealous when a fellow had two young daughters meditating with him.  My boys have been more resistant to learning meditation, and I've not wanted to push it.  I want it to be a natural thing like this morning.  And I am so happy I got my son on the cushion.  I have to be in connection with them, as I balance my enthusiasm, and where they are.  It's easier if I can get them one on one.  Now I need to give my other son a lesson so he doesn't feel like he's left out.

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