Bully for mom seeking meditation for kids

The room was peacefully silent with only the soft inhales and exhales of those sitting around the room. The light from the window was subtle this late-winter morning.

Among those circled around the room for the 9 a.m. Sunday meditation were two tweens who had come with their mom.

“May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I know peace.”

I was guiding the group through a Metta Meditation. It’s a Buddhist practice of visualizing loving kindness for yourself and others.

We do a round reciting the line above for ourselves. We try to see ourselves and feel the feeling of “happiness,” “healthiness,” and “peacefulness.”

We send the same thought and intention in more rounds for those we know, some we love, some we don’t love. The number of rounds and levels of people depend on how much time we have.

The tweens sat next to their mom, eyes softly closed, sometimes looking around the room or at me and shyly looking away. They politely smiled as they rolled up their blankets at the end of class.

Later that day I got a message from mom on Facebook: “I just wanted to thank you so much for welcoming my girls today. Your spirit is just so beautiful and infectious. The girls have been struggling with bullying and having them wish (the bullies) well today was just the perfect message! So thankful to have found you ❤️”

When I realized the girls had been experiencing bullying I thought, Oy, loving kindness for bullies? That might be a tough pill to swallow for kids. Heck it’s hard enough for so-called grown ups.

Then it dawned on me, the beauty of the experience for the young people wasn’t the type of meditation. The beauty was mom’s willingness to be seen reaching out for ways to help her teach her children.

They got to see their mom try different things. They got to see her and sit beside her in a guided meditation about accessing kindness and love even for those we don’t know or who have done us harm.

That’s powerful. 

The mother is doing the work, the practicing, the trying and maybe failing and trying again. She’s modeling teaching. She’s modeling how to ask. She’s modeling being OK with not having the answers.

And now she’s modeling trying meditation as a way to connect with our feelings and intentions; as a way to work through fear and anxiety and perhaps more than a little anger.

I can only imagine the discussions they had in the car. What was hard about sitting? How did it feel to envision your loved ones happy and healthy? Who did we send love to?

Was it painful to try to see their bullies happy and healthy and peaceful? Or was there some solace in sending loving thoughts rather than vengeful ones?

Should kids do meditation? Yes. I think it’s an amazing tool.

But the tool is only as good as the teacher and in the chances we get to practice using them.

Mom did a great job teaching that day. I hope she keeps using it and modeling it as a tool.

I’ve included a short Metta Meditation (Loving Kindness) Script below if you’d like to try it yourselves!

Try to find a place where you can be undisturbed and sit comfortably.

Feel your body and position yourselves for as much ease as you can (but remain awake).

Notice your breath. Follow the inhales and exhales.

Notice your feelings and what’s occupying your mind right now.

And repeat to yourself:

May I be happy.

May I be healthy.

May I know peace.

Bring to mind a time where you felt happy.  Not exciteable happiness. But contentment. Satisfaction.

Remember feeling whole and balanced, physically. Maybe there was a specific day or time.

Call to mind feeling tranquil and peaceful on the inside. See the people around you. See the sky and smell the breeze of how it felt. 

(Repeat this to yourself at least 3 times, with some pauses of quiet in between).

Now bring to mind someone you love dearly. See their faces. Feel how you feel inside when you see them.

And repeat to yourself:

May they be happy.

May they be healthy.

May they know peace.

See them in this state. Feel yourself truly wishing for them to feel this way. See them in a state of joy and balance.

(Repeat this to yourself at least 3 times, with some pauses of quiet in between).

Now go back to yourself. 

Repeat this intention for yourself. Reacquaint knowing how you want to feel and how you like feeling. Intend loving and kind feelings for yourself.

Then move on…

Repeat this with these types of people in mind (depending on time):

Someone you barely know and have no real feeling about one way or another.

Someone who has done you a slight harm (bumped into you, honked at you in traffic).

Someone who has done you a harm (not your worst pain or harm).

If you feel you are not triggered: Someone who has done you a grave harm.

Now go back to yourself. (I like to always end with myself)

Repeat this intention for yourself. Reacquaint knowing how you want to feel and how you like feeling. Intend loving kindness for yourself.

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