Meditation has been used for centuries to calm the mind and channel the spirit. It takes incredible concentration, but once mastered you can be as calm as a cucumber.
An important lesson the children in Rain of Hope's Friendship Matters program learn is self- regulation, or simply how to become calm, cool, and collected. The instructors show the children the benefits of being calm and mindful, and teach them to channel anger and frustration through meditation. Most importantly, the children are excited when it is meditation time.
Friendship Matters is a program currently for young children, grades 1 through 5 – an age when kids have a lot of energy! Surprisingly, all the children carefully listened as the Rain of Hope instructor guided them through the meditation. There was even a student I saw misbehaving a lot during the program, yet was very respectful during the activity.
Practicing meditation teaches our brains discipline, concentration, and patience. These virtues are ever more vital in this busy world, and these skills can also help children listen and do well while in the classroom, especially for children with learning disabilities or who experienced trauma. Children who experience trauma are often more challenged to remain focused and stay calm, which can be mistaken for, or lead to misbehavior.
This ancient practice of meditation is believed to have originated in India several thousand years ago, with the earliest documented records from 1500 BCE. However, historians believe that meditation was practiced before this time, as early as 3000 BCE. Today, the practice continues to be adopted worldwide.
Meditation isn’t just for the religious, it’s for everyone. It can make you feel relaxed, happy, and rejuvenated. And you don’t have to sit on the ground with your legs crossed and hum. You just have to find a comfortable position, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Once you awake from your trance you will feel more calm then you ever have and ready to take on the day, or do it before you go to bed to have a night of uninterrupted sleep.
Through Rain of Hope, we can spread the magic of meditation to youth by teaching the importance of mindfulness. Mindfulness empowers children to choose how react to various situations – and enable them to understand that actions have consequences, which create ripples throughout their community.