An art and music classroom seemed like a perfect spot to teach these lessons. First, it is a way to settle students when they come into the huge classroom. Many children don’t transition well and this is a calming way to get set to learn. Second, it clears the debris and chatter of the mind and allows the kids to be more creative. Finally, I get to practice my mindfulness four or five times a day.
I am fortunate to be substitute teaching at the school where I used to teach. I discussed teaching meditation with a few teacher friends before school started. Everyone was excited about the idea. In fact, every single teacher I have talked to about it since school began has been enthusiastic. The most common response was, “Teach me, so we can use it in our room.” I knew it was going to be accepted when the principal dropped in for poster boards and stayed to learn the breathing techniques I taught the first day. (My fellow teachers should thank me for this.)
Sonia Choquette, my favorite intuition teacher, calls meditation a super power. I love this image. I asked the kids to shut their eyes and picture their favorite superhero eating dinner or sitting on the couch, watching TV. There comes that moment when the hero knows he has to switch on his powers. There is a small flash of time where the hero reflects inward before the intention of heroics takes hold. I explain that this is the superhero clearing the mind of the day-to-day and focusing on the power within. He (or she) is pushing the mind’s noise away. There is no mental discussion. To paraphrase Yoda, “There is no think. There is only do.”
We have finished the second week of school. So far, I have taught about 400 students different cleansing breaths. This week, we will add one more breath and begin to sit for just a minute or two. I will teach them my favorite strategy for what to do when the chatter in your mind starts. I just wonder, “What will I think of next?” That usually allows that thought to float off. If my mind is overworking, I think that phrase a lot. We will see where the kids and I go to next. I have so many ideas that sound fun yet grounding. I will let my heart lead me.
My dream is to create my own business going into classrooms sharing this skill. This substitute teaching assignment has given me the opportunity to “work it.” The kids are responsive. The quiet is deep and the air is calm. It makes me so happy to see them settle into the meditation because they want this super power: the power to let quiet their minds and go of their stress.
What do I hope they learn from this? I hope they learn to worry less. I hope they learn to become more focused and grounded when that is required of them. What I wish for the most, however, is that they learn to hear their heart’s voice.