I love teaching this mantra meditation to teachers, parents and children in the classroom (they love it!). It’s simple and so effective. It’s also a great meditation you can practise incognito when you need to. I must say I have used it waiting in lines and traffic when I have felt stress creep in.
If you haven’t read our previous blog on what mantras are and why use them you can read about that with the link below. Mantras are a great way to help clear and relax our mind and stream of thoughts, which aren’t always helpful.
Whilst practising mindfulness of thoughts with children in classrooms, I am often shocked by things I hear. When I ask children to share what thoughts popped up while they were being still, these are some common responses, “I was thinking about what car I want to drive when I am big” “I was thinking about dinner” “I was thinking about my football game last week when we won” ” I was thinking about what house I will live in when I am bigger” “I was thinking about my birthday” the list goes on.
The theme I noticed from this activity, as well as my own teaching and practising, is that the majority of our thoughts are in the future or in the past. This can lead to stress, anxiety and other negative emotions. When we learn to focus our thoughts and attention on the now, in the present moment, we can access a state of calm and relaxation. We can learn to release thoughts and emotions more easily and faster so they don’t effect us as much.
One of the best mantras to use with children is…
‘Peace begins with me.’ This mantra is paired with a movement of the fingers. Rest the back of your hands on your lap, palms up to the ceiling. As you touch your index finger to your thumb say ‘peace,’ your middle finger to the thumb say ‘begins,’ your ring finger to the thumb say ‘with’ and your little finger with your little finger say ‘me.’ It’s a great meditation for children because they have a physical movement to focus on paired with a mantra. This is usually easier than trying to stay completely still and observing sounds, thoughts or bodily sensations.
If you are teaching this to children, in a classroom or group setting, start by saying the mantra out loud together for a minute or so before prompting everyone to repeat it silently in their mind. Just like the video below. Hold your hands up in the air to show everyone the movements of the fingers as you repeat the mantra out loud with them. You can give everyone an option to close their eyes, if it feels comfortable for them, as they repeat the mantra silently. This can help eliminate visual distractions. Start with 1-2 minutes and increase the time of the meditation as the group is ready. Every second counts.
We would love to hear about when you used this meditation for yourself or with children. It can be a great way to cope with stress at work, school or home. Leave a comment below and let us know. If you think your family and friends will find it useful feel free to share.
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