I’ve written about this before, but it’s on my radar, again, this week because we are working with middle schoolers, today.
When we were fifteen, my friends, Bill, John, and I learned Transcendental Meditation (TM). Our parents drove us to nightly lessons, probably for a week, to lectures about TM and, eventually, to receive our mantras in a ceremony. It was some kind of wonderful weirdness for 15 year olds, but we were motivated to learn. Why? I asked Bill about that and here’s what he texted me.
“For me it was the sales pitch of it (TM) helping to enhance creativity, and it sounded like a cool departure from our usual lives, but the biggest selling point for me was the pitch that most people only use 10-15% of their brain and this would help us access the rest.”
I think a truism of our career in schools is that Beth and I like to give kids things we didn’t get early on. No one in my school taught me HOW to pay attention, for example, so our assembly program about mindfulness covers that. In the case of meditation, though, I clearly received some training at an earl age, but I sought it out. Even in my early teens, I was a seeker, someone who was interested in broadening my mind. This was not usual then and it still is not the norm. But that may be changing.
The newfound interest in mindfulness, TM and other stress-relieving modalities is a result of more stress in our culture. I see that as something that will only increase. In fact, business studies have concluded that health & wellness spending is strong and growing rapidly. And that’s true for kids, too. Therapists who work with kids are apt to “prescribe” mindfulness. Hooray!
It’s been 45 years since I learned how to meditate. It’s hard for me to tell you what meditation has done for me over the course of my life because measuring is effectiveness is difficult. But I would say it’s equal to regular exercise, eating well and other good things I do for my mind and body. And when I don’t meditate? I am more likely to get overwhelmed when life’s little problems pile up.
This Friday, I begin my Ashaya Yoga Teacher training which has a meditation component. I’m looking forward to the deep dive into my practice. Sure, I may end up teaching, but the first priority of this training is self-care. I like that.