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"kids need to balance too"

kula magazine volume #18

Desa Seni, A Village Resort

Bali, Indonesia

We've all fallen apart at one time or another in our lives, due to various reasons, because of certain circumstances over which we have no control, or even ones that we do, but what we do when this happens is a reflection of who we are. Life breaks us, we can't stop it, so you have to figure out a way to accept it and move past it.

Children are no different. Their minds and spirits are possibly even more susceptible than ours of being shattered. They haven't received the teachings, tools, and wisdom that most of us have accumulated as life happens to us. Kids can be competitive, callous and cruel. They can hurl hatred like a major league ballplayer, and sometimes deflect it like a professional soccer goalie. Children can be the bully or be bullied, their character can be challenged at any given moment by peers and friends, their decision making skills are all reactionary, and generally based on what they've been surrounded by at home.  Highly impressionable, they likely find it much harder to come forward with their stories out of fear. Kids need a place to go to find balance, but where? 

Kids today still face adversity. They will always be subjected to the mind and its negativity. The point is, children are always going through something, often secretively, and when it comes to handling situations, it can be absolutely heartbreaking. I personally feel that there was only one thing that perhaps could have helped me back then: meditation. Children are in general sensitive and impressionable. They need guidance and an outlet. They need answers, patience, consideration, compassion and love. Children need good morals and ethics instilled in them from birth. These "rules" will assist them with minor and major decision making, guiding them in all that they encounter along the way. What if I had been exposed to meditation then, would life have been more gentle? Not likely. Whatever is in the cards is meant to be, but I at least would have had a place to turn to, a sanctuary of peace in times of worry, fear and disappointment. Maybe I could have experienced more joy and less hatred. I've been practicing Vipassana meditation for several years now and I've found that I'm much more balanced, have honestly let all the old story go, and have found forgiveness for self and others; a wonderful byproduct of meditation. 

Today's kids are so much more fortunate. They have an opportunity to learn about themselves from a young age, a chance to see themselves in others, to learn about boundaries and apply them, to raise the bar and become healthy minded adults. A technique called, "Anapana meditation" is taught to children as young as 8 years old. It involves focusing on the breath. Regular practice of Anapana gives many benefits, including improved concentration and memory, increased awareness and alertness of mind; more peace and calmness, greater self-confidence, and increassed goodwill for others.  There are courses offered worldwide, free of charges, and the first one in Bali was held in December 2014. The organization is hopeful to schedule more in the future so that both Indonesian and English speaking children can reap the rewards of a concentrated and balanced mind.

Broken is beautiful - it shows all of your insides, your rawness, your strengths and weaknesses. It is a reminder that we are fragile, as delicate as a lotus, and the life around you is your fragrance. But children aren't quite ready to push through the mud on their own in order to realize their greatness. They need water and light, they need tending to, and constant love as nourishment. That's where we come in. We can let their minds and thoughts be the fertilizer in their own garden, but still be the mulch to mix it all together, since we can't shelter them from living, we can at least give them the tools to function in it. Meditation is as essential as a daily vitamin for a child with 20 minutes a day able to keep their suffering at bay. Be the dispenser of this and watch them soar to great and healthy heights. To find out more about meditation for kids, please visit www.children.dhamma.org

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