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Young minds thrive: Meditation for children and teens

by Charles Shahar
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Meditation becomes the gentle guide, sculpting resilient minds, and fostering inner calm in the tender journey of childhood and adolescence.

Even before a baby is born meditation can play an important role. The pregnant woman who meditates is providing an exceptionally welcoming and nurturing environment for the coming soul. When she sits in deep silence, both her energy field and that of the child are strengthened and purified.

During meditation she can focus on sending loving vibrations to the child. A fetus can easily pick up on any negative or harsh emotions around the mother, but will also delight in her bliss. If the pregnant woman spends much time in a spiritual environment, fewer complications during pregnancy, resulting from the resistance of the child to incarnate, can be expected.

Meditations by the father and relatives around the time of birth will help settle the atmosphere and set a welcoming tone. If birthing is done at home candles can be used to purify the space. A child who is born into a setting brimming with spiritual energy will find the transition out of the womb easier to support. Most souls, it is believed, do not spend much time in the physical body for the first few weeks of life, but they will feel an attraction to a spiritual household.

It is beneficial for very young babies to attend meditations and be immersed in a refined space. This will raise the vibration of their energy field, and it will certainly affect their psychological development positively in the long run. In later years, they will recognize the meditative space as one that resonates very deeply within them.

Most babies remain calm in a meditative surrounding, and they will easily fall into a blissful slumber. Parents should avoid waking them suddenly from this state. Babies who cry or are agitated can be distracting in a group meditation, and if such behavior persists, they should be moved to another room. Common sense should be used by the parent in such circumstances.

Children and Meditation

It is the exceptional child who will meditate at a very early age. Most children are too restless to achieve the state of physical and mental stillness that is necessary for meditation. They will fidget, or even have a hard time keeping their eyes closed. It is important that they not be pushed into practicing meditation, and that their parents not attempt to impose any expectations in this regard.

I find it exciting when children ask me to teach them to meditate. It is often sheer curiosity that motivates them. My nephew once meditated with me when he was six years old, and I admired his determination. I turned to check on his progress after a few minutes, and noticed that he had placed his hands over his eyes. When I asked why, he said that he couldn’t keep his eyes closed, so he decided to improvise.

Children can easily get into a blissful space without getting into the formality of assuming the meditation pose. They love to chant. Singing is actually a good way to focus them. Having them shake a rattler or bean-stick will channel their restless energy as well. If there is more than one child in the room, they may distract each other. It may then be preferable to get them to play together in another room if adults are needing a quiet space.

Children of five or six years will easily adopt the cross-legged position, which they imitate from the adults around them. They may be able to sit quietly for a few minutes at a time. However, their nervous system has not yet developed sufficiently to handle the rising kundalini, so often the high energy atmosphere of a meditative environment will make them restless.

As long as their behavior is not too disturbing, children should be given some leeway in this regard. If they experience a sense of freedom and belonging, this will make them more comfortable as they incorporate meditation into their own lifestyle. If it becomes a source of frustration they will get turned off very quickly and they will not have positive associations with the meditative experience.

Most children who are exposed to the meditative atmosphere in their formative years, will appear radiant, light, gentle and refined. It is usually after they reach puberty, and the nervous system has matured sufficiently, that they can start to meditate seriously with other people. By at about sixteen years of age, they will be sufficiently mature to meditate at length and by themselves.

A child who is born into a family of meditators is living a privileged incarnation, because the parents will likely be sufficiently aware to promote the child’s refined nature. Such a child has probably done some spiritual practice in past incarnations, and has specifically chosen this family to further their unfoldment.

More and more aware beings are being born in the world. Many are looking for deeper understanding about their existence. In most cases, their families have not provided them with sufficient spiritual support or instruction. Their sensitivity may be misunderstood, their detachment or imagination may be discouraged, and their brilliance may be blunted by instruction that emphasizes a mundane or flat way of looking at life. If they are fortunate, they will find a teacher or guide who will channel their vision in a higher direction.

Meditation and the Teenager

The teenage years are a delicate time when the personality is still forming and the need for acceptance by peers is strong. The teenager often has boundless energy, but the emotional disposition can be sensitive, and the nervous system has not yet developed to its capacity. If someone begins to meditate during this period, the stage is set for a very advanced incarnation. Their energy will be channeled spiritually early in life, and there won’t be the same obstacles to opening these channels as there might be in later years.

Part of the problem with having a lot of energy is that one tends to take it for granted. Teenagers or young adults will easily blow their energy on late night parties, alcohol, excessive sexual activity and so on. Young nervous systems are usually strong and can handle such abuse. However, if there is a spiritual predilection, there will be sensitivity as well, and such a person will feel discomfort on the soul level. There may be a conflict: to follow the herd mentality of their peers, or to listen to the inner voice which says none of these activities will bring fulfillment.

There is a tendency for teenagers to rebel from parental authority. This is a healthy part of their identity formation. Aware parents will give slack to their children but will also impart helpful wisdom. If you can meditate with your teenage child, your bond will transcend the parent-child role, and a deep mutual respect will develop. Meditation is the best “quality time” parents can spend with their children. It is certainly more productive than watching mindless television together.

A parent should teach by example. If a child is brought up in a space of gentleness and strength, their nervous system will naturally begin to resonate with these qualities. Teenagers may avoid some of the confusion and distress of their peers if they are taught to look within for their answers. In fact, it has been my experience that other teenagers will admire, respect, and naturally gravitate towards such a centered person.

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