Mindful Children

Mindfulness is a popular phrase referring to hyperpresent states that can be achieved with meditation practice. Techniques taught by practitioners familiar with Buddhist practice and/or yogi philosophy are extremely useful, particularly, given the busyness of contemporary life. However, we also experience ┬ámeditative states spontaneously under a variety of conditions. How often have you heard the admonition; ‘stop and smell the roses?’

Children often do so, it is we who often forget.

I often caution parents to take care if their child seems to be ‘mindlessly’ fiddling with some object. The child may well be, intuitively, ┬átaking what I call a ‘Buddhist pause’ , a rest from the mental demands of engaging a complex exterior world. It behooves us all to take a ‘Buddhist pause’ from time to time.

Children may just be looking out the window, or lying around on the floor. The real action is however, within their stream of consciousness. They may be ‘thinking’. They may be taking particular note of something. They may soon ask a question they would not have asked, had they not paused.

Their young minds are busy integrating tremendous amounts of information and, as they reduce input (seemingly doing nothing) they are creating the conditions for efficient organization of their experience.

If your child is seemingly content, do your best to permit the quiet period to come to a natural close. The natural close will be evident when your child just rouses him or herself.

Contentment is highly underrated

About Diane Kern

Diane has been a practicing psychotherapist for over thirty years. She is credentialed to teach college level psychology, social science and anthropology. She has taught at California Community Colleges and Universities. She studied psychoanalytic theory and practice in the School of Criminology at the University of California at Berkeley where she earned her doctorate degree. She traveled to India to study cross-cultural conceptions of mental illness. Research was undertaken in social work agencies and at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. She has had a balanced yoga practice for twenty five years.

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