Posted tagged ‘zen meditation’

The Secret Weapon Against Bullying *Part IV*

April 1, 2010

Trouble-Shooting, Q&A

* Wandering Mind
That happens.  It’s part of the practice.  When your mind wanders,you can re-focus on your breathing or think of a trigger word to center yourself. (Tranquility.  Peace. Gratitude. Joy.)

* Anxiety-
Sometimes that happens too. Being alone inside your mind with no distractions can be a scary experience.  If you’re experiencing mild anxiety, shorten your next sitting and work through it.  If mindfulness meditation is triggering panic attacks for your child, this mode of practice isn’t for them.  They’ll get more out of some kind of moving meditation

* “I can’t (my child can’t) kneel like that”

If there’s some kind of legitimate physical limitation, you certainly can sit in a straight backed chair. You can also sit on a cushion to relieve the compression in your knees.

* “This is uncomfortable.  It hurts.”

Correct. That’s all part of  it. Remember, we aren’t trying to ‘transcend’ anything – we are seeking to experience things fully and at the same time, remain de-attached. You become aware of your mind as its working – for example, “hm. My legs hurt.  Hm.  That was a thought.” People in their 60’s, 70’s and beyond hold seiza for periods of up to 45 minutes.  They’re flesh and blood and bone just like you.  Suck it up.

* “It’s never quiet enough around here”

Unless you’re going to sit on the moon, there’s going to be some ambient noise.  Maybe a plane passing overhead, or a droplet of water falling from the kitchen faucet. The trick is not to resist. Acknowledge, accept, and freely let it pass.

* “Can’t I do this laying down?”
Short answer- No. You’ll wind up falling asleep. (I’m all in favor of naps, but this isn’t that)

* “Am I doing this right?”
A more productive question might be, “Am I doing this well?”. There’s no one right way.  The import thing is working the basic concepts, and being consistent.  As you meditate, you’ll begin to see that just as you don’t “need” to scratch your nose the second it itches, or speak when a thought pops into your head. Soon, you’ll see some cool things start happening in your life.  You won’t “need” to eat that slab of cake just because you want to.  You won’t “need” to contradict someone if you feel they’re wrong. You won’t “need” to act-out when you get angry.

To paraphrase Viktor Frankl, you’ll understand that between stimulus and response, there’s a tiny pause, and in that space is your ability to choose.

How Does Any Of This Help A Kid Beat A Bully?

No matter what kind of situation you find yourself, there’s one variable that you can control.  You.
Imagine a kid who’s being teased, or insulted or intimidated.  Instead of reacting with fear or anger or sadness, they are calm. They don’t permit anyone to push their buttons, because they are in full possession of themselves. That child now can make a rational evaluation about what to do. If the mindful child determine the instigators are just making a lot of noise, they can choose not to be bothered, thus removing the bullies prime reward.
If they actually have to defend themselves, they’ll be far more effective because they’ll have a clear head, and will be 100% committed to the fight.

Any way you look at it, its a win.


The Secret Weapon For Overcoming Bullies *Part III*

March 31, 2010

The Nuts and Bolts of Mindfulness Meditation

  • Environment– A quiet place where there wont be any interruptions or disturbances (turn the telephone off).
  • Position and Posture– Kneeling. (In the Japanese Zen tradition, this is called seiza). Tops of the feet and shins are flat on the floor, and buttocks rests on the heels. Back straight, head up.  Hands can rest on the thighs or be folded in the lap.
  • Breathing. Through the nose.  Slowly and rhythmically, from the lower abdomen- not the chest or shoulders.
  • Progressive Relaxation. Starting from the top of the head and working down, release any unnecessary tension.
  • Focus.
    • Some people count their breaths. In is ‘one’ out is ‘two’. At ‘ten’, reverse the cycle and start counting backwards.
    • Some people visually focus on a point in space.
    • Some focus on nothing in particular, but try to keep their mind tranquil.
  • Attention.
    • Tune into your physical body. Balance and posture.  Breathing.  Heart rate. Temperature. Every internal sensation and every feeling on the surface of your skin. Experience all of them and do nothing.
    • Tune into your emotions. Don’t judge, just observe.
    • Tune into your thoughts. As they arise, imagine they’re like bubbles and watch them float away.
    • Tune into your environment. Notice the minute details, the faintest sounds and smells.

Do Not:

  • Fidget. Don’t adjust, don’t stretch, don’t scratch, don’t look around.
  • Wander. This is not the time to think about the future or the past. This is the time to think about here and now.
  • Obsess. Instead, practice letting go. Just release.

Just sit. Be still.

“Okay.  Eyes Open”
At the conclusion of your session, smile and take a deep cleansing breath. Exhale slowly and fully.  Say, “I feel fantastic”.     Take your time standing up.
For a lot of kids, a few moments of silent, still introspection are amazing.