Monday, September 25, 2017

Meditating in Middle School

Today, we had a meditation T'filah at The Davis Academy middle school. It may seem like a crazy idea-- close to 200 6th, 7th, and 8th graders sprawled out on the gym floor, meditation music playing in the background, in varying states of meditative repose. But that's what happened. What on earth would lead to someone deciding to undertake such an unlikely and potentially fraught experiment? It's simple really: our kids need it and so do we.

Life is busy. Life is complicated. There's a lot that's asked of each of us. Every day. We all spend a lot of time reviewing past mistakes and anticipating future experiences. And we could all spend a little more time being present for... the present. And attending to all that the moment has to offer.

The Davis Academy Middle School Ark when the gym lights are dimmed for meditation. 

Seven or eight years ago I discovered that my students here at The Davis Academy, from at least 5th grade on up, really like meditating. At first I thought it was some sort of anomaly. But what I've found, consistently, is that they not only like meditating, but that meditation is important for them. We don't meditate often and we don't meditate with great rigor, but when we do meditate you can quickly notice the change in energy. Kids are more relaxed. They're more attentive to themselves and one another. They're more comfortable sharing on the basis of their experience.

Over the years, I've had lots of opportunities to explore meditation with Davis Academy students. Some like it. Some don't. Some feel comfortable doing it. Some don't. Some report significant spiritual, emotional, or intellectual breakthroughs, some don't. Some find it energizing, some find it exhausting. But one thing is clear-- they all find it interesting.

I think meditation speaks to our 5th-8th students because it represents a break from the fast pace of daily life. I think it speaks to them because it allows them to look inside and encounter their true thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and experiences. And I think it speaks to them because it is an authentic methodology for self-transcendence-- for getting a sense of something greater than themselves and for having a chance to connect to it.

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