mantra meditation

The bud dreaming the flower

Dream-like close-up of white rose, seen from above

Last weekend I taught meditation on a workshop along with another teacher who talked about the importance of goals as part of one’s spiritual path. This is something I often talked about in the past, although it hasn’t been a prominent part of my teaching recently. I think the last time I wrote about it was in my 2010 book, Living as a River.

My own presentation at the weekend was on mindfulness, appreciation, and gratitude: being in and valuing the present moment.

These two themes — having goals and appreciating the present moment — might seem contradictory, and it was interesting to explore how they’re actually not, but instead are (or can be) complementary.

One exercise I’ve done myself and which I recommend others to do is this: Imagine it’s 10 or 15 years in the future. You walk into a large room, and to your surprise it’s full of friends, relatives, colleagues, and members of your spiritual community. They’re all there for you. One by one people stand up and talk about you. They talk about the positive influence you’ve had on their lives. They rejoice in the qualities they admire in you. They celebrate your accomplishments.

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I suggest to my meditation students that, having done this reflective exercise, they write down the main points of what they’ve heard.

What’s happening when you do this exercise is that you’re getting in touch with your deeper values and aspirations. It’s easier to do this than when you simply sit down and ask the question, “What are my values and aspirations,” because when you do that you’re speaking in your own voice—the voice of your everyday ego, riddled through with doubt, pride, and fear. In hearing others’ voices you bypass the ego and hear a more direct and unfiltered account of what you most value. In fact, what you hear from these “others” is often surprising!

I call this “The bud dreaming the flower.” The bud looks deeply into its nature and sees its own potential. This is the resolution of the apparent paradox of having goals and ideals (which inevitably involve the future) while being completely in the moment. When you do an exercise like the one I’ve suggested, you’re seeing yourself more truly than when you’re simply mindful of who you are right now. This is because “who you are right now” is not something static. It’s a process.

There is no being, only becoming.

You’re always changing. Who you currently are is only a snapshot of an ever-unfolding and ever-changing process. You’re an arrow in flight, completing the long arc from birth to death. Being aware of what’s arising for you right now is like taking a still photograph of one moment from the long curve of your life.

It seems as if a bud need do nothing in order to transform into the flower, but that’s because we don’t see the immense effort that goes into its growth. The bud’s growth is not conscious, however.

Our own growth will often not take place unless we consciously become aware of our potential, unless we consciously work at overcoming the fears and doubts that hold us back, and unless we consciously apply ourselves in our lives. This deeper form of mindfulness is called sampajañña, or “mindfulness of purpose.”

The bud, dreaming the flower, comes to know itself more fully. It comes to see itself not as a static “thing” but as an ever-unfolding process. It comes to see itself in terms of its potential. Having seen this potential, its life becomes more conscious. When decisions are made—whether large or small—they become tools for steering oneself toward our potential future self. Every action becomes, potentially at least, a small step toward the full flower of our potential.

This awareness of our potential is an important practice in Buddhism. It’s why Buddhists commonly chant the refuges and precepts before a period of practice, paying homage to our potential and to the practices that enable us to manifest it. It’s why Buddhists visualize Buddhas and bodhisattvas (this is called “Buddhanusati”), and chant mantras—these are ways, once again, to dream the flower, seeing our own potential enlightened selves.

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Jerry Seinfeld credits meditation for endless energy

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Michael D’Estries, Mother Nature News: Comedian, who has practiced Transcendental Meditation for 40 years, says the technique has helped him stay balanced throughout his career.

For more than 40 years, Jerry Seinfeld has twice daily practiced Transcendental Meditation, a mantra meditation he credits with giving him endless energy and peace of mind.

“When I think about the things I love more than money, more than love, more than just about anything, I love energy,” the 60-year-old said in an interview earlier last month. “I love it and I pursue it, I want it, and I want more of it. And I think this is the reason by the way why I’m so enthusiastic about TM. Physical and mental energy to me is the greatest riches of human life. And TM is like this free account of an endless amount of it.”

Transcendental Meditation (TM), introduced in the mid-1950s by an Indian yogi, is experiencing a resurgence as people with stressful lives seek out easy-to-follow relaxation solutions. While TM is a form of mantra meditation that one generally has to learn through paid training, there are alternatives if you’re working off a smaller budget. Results usually expected from any form of meditation include lower blood pressure, greater focus and reduced anxiety.

In an interview with Bob Roth, executive director of the TM-focused David Lynch Foundation, Seinfeld detailed how he fits meditation into his daily routine.

“I’ll get up at 6 a.m. My kids get up about 6:45 a.m. And so I do the TM before anybody gets up,” he said. “And how does it feel? It doesn’t feel like anything. I don’t understand it. But here’s the difference. At 1 p.m. that day, my head does not hit the decks like it used to. That’s the difference. If I didn’t do TM that morning and I’m working, then by 1 p.m. I’m shot, and I think most people are. And now, at 1 o’clock, I’m feeling good. I just sail through the day, and then I have my second TM at 3 p.m. or 4 p.m.”

Other recognizable names who are big fans of meditation include Oprah, Jared Leto, Miranda Kerr and Paul McCartney. MNN’s own Starre Vartan is also a big believer in the practice, having practiced meditation since she was 15.

“Try out what works for you,” writes Vartan. “I find I like different kinds of meditation on different days, and as a person who doesn’t really like a regular schedule or following rules, it works for me to mix it up. The opposite might be true for you — maybe the same time, same place, same breathing sequence and mantra is how you will make meditation yours. But you’ll never know unless you try.”

Original article no longer available

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Meditation helps practitioners clear thoughts, focus

Mary-Jane Slaby, JCOnline: Back straight, legs crossed and with the back of her hands on her knees, the Rev. Hilary Cooke’s palms faced upward, open and ready to receive whatever may come her way.

She focused on one word — her mantra — repeated over and over to herself.

“Compassion.” It’s a feeling she has for herself and for others.

“Compassion.” Avoid distractions and don’t think about what to make for dinner.

“Compassion.” It’s three syllables, just like the beat of a waltz.


The corner of her office at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Lafayette, where Cooke is the associate priest for …

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Woman brings meditation movement into south Chicago suburbs

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 Denise Baran-Unland, Herald-News, Chicago: A small, quiet flash mob assembled Dec. 22 at the New Lenox Public Library and, instead of singing, they mediated, leaving behind a spirit of calm, serenity and stillness.

The event was soothing and educational for participants and those spectators unaccustomed to the mechanics and benefits of meditation. More than 20 cities worldwide participated in meditation on the same night, said Michelle Ann Frank, founder of MedMob South Suburban Chicago.

“Some people think meditation is religious, that’s it’s about worshipping false gods or that it’s for pot-smoking hippies, but science has shown we’re wired for this,” Frank said. “I just want people to know all the good it can do. We’ve have the Occupy movement, but this is a way to change things without saying one word.”

Worldwide movement

The New Lenox Library will host a second MedMob on Saturday. Frank’s chapter is part of a worldwide movement to send positive energy into the world through meditation. Frank will offer meditation instruction prior to the event so even the uninitiated may participate if they wish.

The basic method Frank will demonstrate is a simple process of mentally tracking one’s breathing. Sitting cross-legged on the floor is not mandatory. One may successfully meditate from a chair.

“We want you to be comfortable, enjoy the experience and not have any goals in mind,” Frank said. “If you find yourself planning your grocery list, just come back to concentrating on your breathing.”

Frank understands the misconceptions surrounding meditation. She herself experienced them 10 years ago when she first began meditating. Then, Frank thought proper meditation meant ceasing to think. When that did not happen, Frank became frustrated until a teacher simplified the process for her.

“He explained how the act of the mind is thought, so meditation is not about shutting off all thought, because you are going to think,” Frank said. “You just don’t want to get wrapped up in your thoughts while you are meditation. From that point on, I meditated every day.”

Library welcomes group

Kate Hall, director of the library, said inviting MedMob South Suburban Chicago is part of the library’s overall mission: to provide a variety of educational resources to its patrons. Hall had even created a display of supplementary meditation materials for the December event, which she will repeat Saturday.

“So many people today are looking for ways to relieve stress and become healthier, more balanced and centered,” Hall said. “This fit in well with it.”

Dulcinea Hawksworth of Joliet, who attended the December event and plans to participate in the next one, feels the overall environment of the library prepares one to meditate.

“The coffee shop has cinnamon rolls and a lot of wonderful windows close to the landscaping,” Hawksworth said, “so you can sit down, enjoy your coffee and a good book while looking out a window at the beautiful scenery.”

Some people believe prayer and meditation are identical — because they both stress focus — but Hawksworth sees one distinct difference.

“When you pray, you are asking the universe for what you need,” Hawksworth said, “but when you meditate, you get the answer. If you are not meditating, you are not listening.”

The one-hour event concluded with an 11-minute sound bath, where those meditating chanted a single syllable — such as Om — or created certain tones with a singing bowl. At the sound bath’s conclusion, the mob was done.

“People chant at their own pace and men have different voices than women,” Hawksworth said, “but it all came together because it’s the same two or three sounds repeated.”

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MedMob occupies peace at Seattle ferry terminal

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Connie Mears, Bainbridge Island Review: If you were searching for peace, rush hour at the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal might not be the first place you’d look, but commuters spilling off the 6:20 p.m. ferry Dec. 22 were met with the soothing sound of – well, breathing.

A group of residents gathered in the terminal as part of a “MedMob,” a takeoff on the popular flash mob movement. Instead of thrashing to “Thriller,” MedMobsters meditate in a public place for one hour, then offer an 11-minute “sound bath,” in this case chanting “Om Shanti Om.”

“We might have gone a little longer than 11 minutes,” said Helen Burke who organized the event based on The online effort coordinates MedMobs now in more than 250 cities worldwide.

The seed of the idea was planted in July when an ad-hoc group met at Jen Breen’s Karma Yoga House to explore ways to offer “selfless service” to the community. The service can take many forms, such as creating beauty, sharing kindness or helping someone in need. The group has done all that and more, so when Burke suggested they take part in a MedMob event on the solstice, about 40 people responded.

Burke found an image online that summed up the sentiment: Occupy Your Heart.

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Meditation – how many forms should we practice?

A variety of cut citrus fruit, viewed from above.

There are many different types of meditation practices. Most familiar, perhaps, are mantra meditation, Mindfulness of Breathing, Metta Bhavana (Development of Loving Kindness), and the candle meditation. Recently I was asked by a student if I thought she should add a third meditation practice to the two forms of meditation she already practices. I responded to her question with a list of questions to consider before she made her decision. I hope these questions will be helpful to you as well, if you are considering adding other practices to your meditation repertoire.

Regarding adding another form of meditation to your meditation practice – there are differing ideas about doing that. In my own meditation process (from 1993 – 2000), it was recommended that I practice the metta bhavana and the mindfulness of breathing (which some believe can take us all the way to Enlightenment). When I was ordained, in September 2000, I was introduced to two more forms of meditation – the Six Element Practice and an Amitabha Buddha visualization practice. Those practices were taught during a seven week retreat and I had an opportunity to practice both forms in a context where I received instruction and support.

It’s probably a good idea to consider the intention underlying one’s desire to take on another meditation practice. Here are some questions to consider:

1. Am I bored/tired with my practice as it is? If so, why?

2. Which meditation practice do I practice most? If I just practice the Mindfulness of Breathing as a way to become more focused and mindful, should I practice the Metta Bhavana for a while so that I am developing loving kindness for myself and others? Is there a reason I practice one practice more than another? Am I having difficulty concentrating or feeling positive emotion for myself and or others? If there is resistance to one practice, understanding the resistance can be valuable.

3. What do I want to accomplish by taking on another meditation practice?

4. Do I know enough about the practice to do it without the support of a teacher and practice group?

After reading this list of questions, another student responded:

“Thank you for the list of questions to consider when thinking about trying another meditation practice. Your first question struck home with me in that sometimes after I have been doing a particular meditation for awhile I have more difficulty staying focused. It just struck me that maybe instead of switching to another method, I need to just sit with the restlessness of my mind and see what happens. Not being able to stay still emerges once again.”

It’s a good idea to be aware of your meditation practice, and to take stock, now and again, to see if changes (additions or deletions) might be helpful.

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Meditation For the Love of It, by Sally Kempton

‘Inner spaciousness is always there, with its clarity, its love, and its innate goodness,’ says Sally Kempton in her new book. Our task is learn how to connect with it, and in Meditation for the Love of It, which has garnered rave reviews from such spiritual luminaries as Lama Surya Das, Kempton sets out to show us how love and enjoyment should be at the heart of our experience.

A shame then that although the book contains much of value, it’s hard to love it, and at times, hard even to enjoy it.

Parts are written with sensitivity, imagination and a sense of who the reader might be. Kempton offers an excellent explanation of how to work with a mantra. She successfully combines practical advice with metaphors that foster intuitive understanding (‘after a while the mantra begins to act as a sort of magnet that aligns the particles of your scattered attention’).

The meditation exercises – which come towards the end of each chapter, in ones, twos, threes or more – are varied and imaginative. ‘Become Aware of your Awareness’ was one I found particularly good, to the extent that I now incorporate it in my practice.

But there were two aspects of the book that I found very difficult.

Firstly, Kempton talks a lot about bliss states and refers again and again to where our meditation practice will eventually lead us.

In those chapters where the meditation journey itself is the subject, such as ‘Where Do You Find Yourself?’ and ‘The Process of Ripening’ – chapters offering a kind of road map to help the reader assess his or her progress on the meditation journey – this is all well and good, and actually very interesting.

But the emphasis on transcendental states in the rest of the text is draining and counter-productive. It’s as if ordinary experience is being continually presented as something to move away from.

Maybe this is the case. But there’s a problem inherent in talking about it too much. As the poet Antonio Porchia said, ‘he who makes a paradise of his bread, makes a hell of his hunger.’

It’s something of a paradox, but the meditation teachings I find most helpful are those that barely mention any future state but help one to focus unconditionally on the here and now with all its pains and pleasures.

This may be just me, and Sally Kempton may be writing for more experienced meditators. But here was the second problem: I couldn’t see who the book was aimed at.

Kempton’s teachings are based on Kashmir Shaivism, a ‘philosophical system’ that she describes in the chapter ‘Moving Inward’ (pg 109 onwards). Nothing wrong with that, except that the book, with its frequent quotations from spiritual leaders of all traditions, seems to be marketed at the general reader.

And yet, among passages written in a down-to-earth colloquial style, the text breaks out into esoteric language and liberal use of the symbols of Kempton’s yogic tradition. This shuffling between registers is disorientating and made me wonder who was talking. I would feel on board with the ideas and concepts, only to feel crestfallen when I was suddenly excluded by alien words and concepts. Hope was offered, but it was also snatched away.

I was thrown by assertions like ‘the radiance of supreme Awareness is present inside the [mantra] syllables’ (pg 92), and ‘Oneness is the Truth’ (pg 110). The capitalizing of words made me uncomfortable, and sometimes I was invited somewhere I just plain didn’t want to go, as in the meditation exercise, ‘Seeing the Mind as Shakti, the Energy of Creation’ (pg 151).

Having said that, the book has something to offer both secular readers and readers from different spiritual traditions, if you approach with caution. For yoga practitioners out there, it is probably a godsend. For Kempton’s followers and fellow Shaivists, it may even be a Godsend.

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Mindful Moms, Dharma Dads

Is it possible to have children and a spiritual practice at the same time? Sunada talked with some friends who are managing to raise a family while staying committed to their spiritual lives. How do they do it? What does practice look like as a parent?

Welcoming children into our lives is such a joyous and HUGE experience. For anyone who is a dedicated spiritual practitioner, such a change can’t help but have a profound impact. Take Vanessa for example. Her firstborn son arrived four months ago. With sleep deprivation, exhaustion, stress, and her body being all out of whack, her formal meditation practice of 10-12 years, which had been so vital to her up until giving birth, just flew out the window. “I’m stunned and humbled by my realization of how fragile my practice really is,” she said. “As soon as the conditions of my life changed, my practice collapsed.”

So does that mean you can’t have children and a spiritual practice at the same time? When you can’t fit meditation into a life of 3am feedings and diaper changes, is it time to give up? Vanessa and I knew that couldn’t be true. I have no children myself, so I set out to talk with some other friends who are managing to raise a family while staying committed to their spiritual lives. How do they do it? What does practice look like as a parent?

One person I asked was Bodhipaksa, whose daughter Maia arrived about a year ago. He too admitted that for several months, he barely meditated. After the New Year, he decided to make more of a commitment to sit daily. But as the family has been settling more comfortably into their life together, a new sort of picture is emerging. “I’ve learned a lot just by watching Maia engage with the world,” he said. “For a start she really exemplifies mindfulness, like when she stares at something intently or just enjoys moving her hands in the air. I’ve also learned how important it is to give her my full attention. It’s very frustrating for both of us if I try to do something else like write an email when she really wants to talk or play with me. We both do so much better when I can be fully present with her.”

In talking to Rita, whose two daughters are 5 and 6, I saw Bodhipaksa’s insights played out even more. Yes, it takes a real effort to keep up any sort of formal sitting practice. But at the same time, she now sees everything about her life with her girls as opportunities to grow and deepen her understanding of the Buddha’s teachings. For one, she says she’s really learned how to flow with her life, moment to moment, and let go of ideas of how things ought to be. When she’s surrounded by a cluttered mess of a house and her girls are running around and shrieking, she can stop and appreciate that this is just the way it is right now. There is no right or wrong, there is no need to bring her ego’s needs into the situation. Just sitting in the midst of chaos and being OK with it, in fact surrendering to it, has been a real source of strength for her.

Rita says this insight has helped her to be a better parent, too. Children have a way of pushing us to limits we didn’t know existed, she says. Knowing how to feel OK when she’s not in of control of a situation has helped her to exercise her patience more wisely. “I feel able to give them the freedom to be themselves, because I can see more clearly what lead them to be that way. I feel less need to step in and judge the situation, or try to change what I really can’t and shouldn’t try to change.”

Nancy’s son Stefan is 10 years old, and so her thoughts on parenting are very much about being in a relationship with another individual. While being aware of the Buddha’s warnings against pema, or attachment, she also saw much to be gained by allowing herself to go more deeply into her relationship with her son. “Children are a practice in themselves”, she said. “You have to respond to them, but at the same time constantly step back and ask yourself – is this the most helpful and loving thing I can do?” While she admitted that it’s an extremely challenging job, it’s very obvious that it’s a source of real joy and enrichment for her.

She was delighted that Stefan, at the age of 7 or 8, took so well to learning meditation, in particular the Metta Bhavana. Even though they sat for only 3-5 minutes at first, it was a way to share something sacred and meaningful. They’ve also enjoyed chanting mantras together. He particularly likes the mantra for the bodhisattva Vajrasattva because it’s so lively and upbeat.

She hadn’t realized how meaningful this all was to him until recently when a boy from Stefan’s class at school lost his mother in a car accident. Stefan was obviously shaken up and empathizing with his friend, saying how hard it must be for him to lose his mother. And after coming home from the memorial service, he asked Nancy if they could meditate together – something that brought him comfort in his time of fear and confusion. Of course, she’s fully aware that every child is different, and that not every child would respond so positively to sharing her love of the dharma – the Buddha’s teachings. In her case, though, she found that shared gift by being gentle, patient, and completely open to being with her son — responding lovingly, moment-to-moment, to what he needed most.

So what do these four parents have to say in common? They all admitted that any notions they might have had about keeping up their own formal meditation practice were blown away. None of them gave up on it entirely though — doing what they could in dribs and drabs whenever possible. They all knew that it was important to find time for themselves, to recharge their batteries and stay sane, even in small doses.

But the bigger emphasis of their practice was the whole of their lives – the ordinary everyday experiences, and living all of them more mindfully and lovingly. Being with children brings us back to the basics of life. Whether it’s cooking for our children or just playing together, it brings us in touch with what it means to be alive as a human being. It’s also an opportunity to let go of any fixations we may have on the past, the future, or how we want things to be, and instead surrender more deeply into the here and now. It’s a real lesson in seeing things as they are, without preconceived judgments, and responding in a creative way that allows everyone to flourish.

And in the end, isn’t that what a spiritual life is all about? It’s not about the grand meditative experiences, about attaining this or that. It’s about taking whatever situation we’re in and finding ways to respond positively, gracefully, and lovingly. It doesn’t matter if it’s about children, our jobs, or relationships — our lives will never be in that perfect arrangement of circumstances we think we need in order to practice. And so that realization becomes a practice in itself. It invites us to jump right into the mess, clutter, and chaos, and find our own peace in the midst of it all.

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Christian meditation finds a sanctuary at Georgetown University

Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service: In the oldest building on the campus of the United States’ oldest Catholic university, Christian meditation has found a place to take root.

The structure — also the smallest building on the Georgetown University campus — is now home to a meditation center that had for two years before been based in a pair of adjoining row houses one block from campus.

In the center, organized meditation is offered twice a day, although students, faculty and staff can walk into the building at all hours for some moments of silent meditation.

“Ma-ra-na-tha,” counseled Benedictine Father Laurence Freeman, a native Briton, at one recent midday meditation session. He was instructing those present to say the ancient Greek invocation for “Come, Lord” to themselves, inside their heads slowly and evenly, without putting emphasis on any syllable.

“The best way to learn is to practice,” Father Freeman said, as the meditation session had a few first-timers.

Some sat in chairs, some sat on small pillows on the floor and a majority had their footwear off, as they meditated. The hum of an electrical unit — turned on to provide heat in the circa-1792 building — could not drown out the drone of jets taking off from an airport across the Potomac River from Georgetown, or all of the everyday hustle and bustle that goes with being on a college campus.

Meditation, the priest asserted, is “simple. It’s not easy, but it’s simple.”

Although anyone could meditate, not everyone does, said Father Freeman, noting that many Christians have lost touch with this ancient form of prayer.

What’s the reason? “The mind is not attentive,” Father Freeman explained. “It’s very distractive. … Don’t be disappointed if your mind wanders. Someone once described it as a monkey jumping among the branches.”

The Georgetown meditation session was flanked by two readings: one from a Chinese text called “Tao-Ching,” the other by the late Benedictine priest, Father John Main, for whom the Georgetown center is named. 2007 marks the 25th anniversary of Father Main’s death, and his efforts to spread Christian meditative practices have been observed this year with different programs across North America.

Father Main, who believed that the contemplative experience creates community, began the first meditation groups at his monastery in London and, later, in Montreal. His student and collaborator in these endeavors was Father Freeman, now president of the World Community of Christian Meditation.

In December in Sarasota, Fla., Father Freeman is scheduled to lead a three-day event on contemplative prayer with Trappist Abbot Thomas Keating, the founder of an organization called Contemplative Outreach who helped start the centering prayer movement in the 1970s.

Father Freeman said he believes the meditation center at Jesuit-run Georgetown is unique among U.S. Catholic colleges in that a specific spot on the campus has been reserved for meditation. “It’s right slap-bang in the middle of the campus,” he said with a smile.

“People say to me they’re missing something,” Father Freeman told Catholic News Service in an interview after the meditation service had concluded. “They’re often confused” by unceasing demands placed on them in society and respond by undertaking a “spiritual search,” he said.

The search can begin at any time in life. For some it starts quite early. In the Diocese of Townsville, Australia, 31 Catholic elementary schools have adopted meditation as part of the school routine. “The children like it,” Father Freeman said.

The Georgetown meditation building is far too small to accommodate all who would want to pray. Father Freeman said one purpose of the center is to make those at Georgetown feel comfortable meditating in their dorm rooms or elsewhere on campus.

Father Freeman said he marveled at the energy of Georgetown students who work and study hard yet want to maintain a rich prayer life and embrace meditation as one way to pray. Yet it’s almost natural for someone practicing meditation to doze off. “When you first do it, it’s easy to get drowsy,” he said.

But a verse from Psalm 46 in some versions of the Bible carries a rich reminder about the benefits of meditation: “Be still and know that I am God.”

Original article no longer available…

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Ok, kids, chill out (Montreal Gazette)

Children as young as 10 are picking up Transcendental Meditation, and they’re not the only ones feeling good about it

Stephanie Whittaker: Every morning, as soon as she awakens, 13-year-old Joelle Cazeault sits up in her bed, closes her eyes and performs a ritual unknown to most children. She spends 10 minutes doing Transcendental Meditation.

“I repeat my mantra and it slows my breathing,” says the student at College St. Maurice in Ste. Hyacinthe.

Ditto for the afternoon. Joelle meditates when she gets home from school and, she says, it gives her the alertness and focus she needs to do her homework.

Meditation is a ritual she began three years ago when her parents, who have meditated since the 1970s, enrolled her in a Transcendental Meditation course: “They think it’s important for my life and that it can help me become enlightened.”

Perhaps it is inevitable that baby boomers, the generation that learned to chill out in heightened states of consciousness, want their offspring to experience the same.

Children as young as 10 are learning Transcendental Meditation and are reaping the rewards at school. “I always had good marks but they got even better after I learned to meditate,” says Joelle.

She’s at the forefront of a coming trend. There is a growing push in the U.S. to put “ohm” in schools by making Transcendental Meditation part of the curriculum. The movement is poised to take Canada with it.

A U.S.-based group called Stress-Free Schools has helped set up T.M. programs in 50 schools south of the border and has piqued the interest of educators in Canada.

Six Montreal-area schools want the program.

“My students deserve to have this, and it will transform the whole school,” says Marielle Mayers, an elementary school principal in Ville d’Anjou.

Michele Beausoleil, a Montreal teacher of T.M., is keen to get started: “We’re ready to teach the children, teachers and principals and I’ll work to help the schools find funding from foundations.”

Stress-Free Schools was founded in 2004 by a group of meditating parents in New York City, who were concerned about social problems in their schools.

Two months ago, the organization held a conference at Montreal’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel to explain to educators how teaching T.M. to children as young as 10 can benefit their schools.

Original article no longer available.

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