Secular prayer flags

October 27, 2011

A few days ago I gave a talk at a high school about 40 minutes from my house. Some of the students had made secular “prayer flags,” which had the purpose of expressing their positive thoughts and sending them out into the world.

The prayer flags had been hung where they would brighten up a rather unattractive central courtyard, which now contained a “ger” (Tibetan yurt), designed (I think) in the geometry class. You can just see the ger in the background of the second photograph.

Some of the images were intriguing, and I wish I’d been able to talk more with individual students to discover more about what they were trying to communicate.

On prayer flags and changing the world

October 24, 2011

An address I’m scheduled to give today at a high school in New Hampshire, where the students have been making secular prayer flags, in order to “send their positive thoughts into the world.”

Good morning.

It’s a pleasure and an honor to be here, and I’d like to thank you for having me. I’m delighted to hear that you’ve been putting your positive thoughts on flags and sending them out into the universe. Of course I don’t believe that your thoughts will literally be sent out on the wind, but I see great significance in what you’re doing.

To print your positive thoughts on fabric you have, of course, to have had a positive thought. … Read more »

Ex-convict teaches yoga to help calm violence in Mexico’s prisons

September 24, 2011

Lauren Villagran: Teenage boys shuffle into a cramped room. Wearing the same navy blue sweatpants and white undershirts, they sit cross-legged on yoga mats laid out on the floor. Thick scars on forearms and biceps are apparent as they stretch their hands to their knees and shut their eyes.

Yoga instructor – and ex-convict – Fredy Díaz Arista begins guiding a meditation aimed at relaxing the group of 10 young offenders. Among them and their peers, about 300 youth in this Mexico City jail, the crimes range from drug abuse to robbery, assault, and murder.

“How long can you stand yourselves with your…

Read the rest of this article…

With a rebel “om”

September 23, 2011

Hannah Guzik: Those who stumble into ZanZilla yoga studio Tuesday night might think a punk rock concert’s about to start. But instead of head-banging to music, the tattooed will sit and quietly meditate.

They’re dharma punx, and they’re making meditation hip for Generation X.

“Unlike most Buddhist groups, where you’re likely to see gray hair and some kind of Indian costume, at these meditations you’re much more likely to see tattoos, piercings, shaved heads and dyed hair,” said Noah Levine, author of Dharma Punx: A Memoir. “It’s definitely a modern American youth movement.”

Levine, who started the movement when his…

Read the rest of this article…

Yoga helps improve asthma symptoms

Ani, The Times Of India: A new study has suggested that meditation and yoga can be ‘helpful’ in improving asthma in urban adolescents.

A new study by researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) shows that urban adolescents with asthma may experience worse outcomes when not using spiritual coping and often use complementary and alternative medicine, or integrative medicine, like prayer or relaxation, to manage symptoms.

These findings by researchers could help physicians and other providers gain insight into additional ways to help pediatric populations self-manage chronic illnesses.

The study, led by Sian Cotton, assistant professor in the department of family and community medicine, looked at urban adolescents dealing with asthma and uncovered the ways … Read more »

Meditation: a new teaching aid for young children

February 2, 2011

Serene students at Mona Vale’s Sacred Heart Primary School have been enlightened by a new program that combines meditation with education.

Designed by two of the school’s teachers in line with the New South Wales syllabus, the program focuses on relaxation techniques for primary students and aims to improve focus in the classroom.

Program developer and primary teacher Susan Rudd said students were delighted by the new teaching approach.

‘‘They absolutely love it, I don’t think I have met any child that hasn’t enjoyed meditation and those that find it difficult initially, over a course of a few weeks, are gradually able to do it,’’ Ms Rudd said.

The program became a part of the … Read more »

Meditation school to transfer to state sector

January 30, 2011

Britain is set to get its first state school dedicated to the values of transcendental meditation. A private school run by followers of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi will transfer to the state sector in September.

The Maharishi School in Ormskirk, Lancashire, has been given the green light to be part of the first tranche of Education Secretary Michael Gove’s “free” schools.

Mr Gove announced yesterday that 35 “free school” applications had received the go-ahead. In all, 249 applications have been received by the Department for Education to join the scheme. Under the “free schools” policy, parents, teachers and charities can open schools – funded by the taxpayer.

Pupils at the Maharishi School – for four-to-16-year-olds … Read more »

Children need more meditation and less stimulation

January 11, 2011

A remote diocese in Australia is leading the way by allowing regular periods of silent meditation in the classroom

If you want your children to feel more relaxed and less stressed, give them silence, not iPods.

This unthinkable idea came to mind after listening to Ernie Christie and Dr Cathy Day, two educationists from Queensland, Australia. They were addressing an audience at Regent’s College, London, on the benefits of allowing children to experience regular periods of silent meditation in the classroom.

A pilot study in 2005, involving teaching meditation to five- to 17-year-olds, had shown that children are not only capable of meditation, they actually enjoy it. The benefits to children’s wellbeing were so obvious … Read more »

Meditation treament for taboo problem of self-harm

December 11, 2010

Meditation can forge lasting changes in the brain and, as an Australian experiment in the taboo area of self-harm shows, its positive effect can be life-transforming.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne conducted the ground-breaking experiment, scanning the brain of a young woman who had grappled with the problem of self-harm since her teens.

They saw positive changes in brain activity after she took part in a research-backed course in meditation and relaxation techniques.

Brisbane’s Alison Dower also meditated daily for eight weeks.

“The desire to self-harm is not particularly strong anymore due to all the work I’ve done,” Ms Dower, now aged 23, said on Wednesday.

Read the rest of this article…

“I don’t

Read more »

“Taneesha Never Disparaging,” by M. LaVora Perry

October 4, 2010

Taneesha Never DisparagingTaneesha Never Disparaging is billed as a young adult novel, but it’s a perfect read for all ages, exemplifying how spiritual principles can help us face up to our fears and transform hatred into love.

Taneesha Bey-Ross is a typical fifth-grader, facing her weaknesses and challenges in home, school and daily life. Taneesha is funny, creative, honest, and a loyal friend to Carli, a girl she befriended in first grade. Carli lives with her father and wears leg braces. Taneesha is African-American, while Carli is white. It is on their walks home together after school that they encounter their tormentor — a girl twice their size who bullies them and awakens Taneesha’s “evil twin” Evella, … Read more »