Dear Parents, Families and Friends,
Welcome back to our House Blog!
Yesterday evening we had a General House Assembly where all the Middle School Students were present. The main topic of the Assembly was to formally bring to an end the “21 days Meditation Challenge“… Do you remember? We started this challenge three weeks ago and now, 21 days later, we challenged all of our kids to discuss the positives and negatives of this new experience and also to gauge their enthusiasm and engagement.
Boys and girls meditated during these 21 days, girls twice a day and boys only at night before lights off. First positive outcome! They have obviously found the practice “challenging”… it is extremely difficult to sit still and pay attention to the breath and observe and let go of ones’ thoughts, constantly bringing back the attention on the single action that stays with us from the first moment to the last of our lives, keeping us alive. We are not used at all, especially in our days, to simply sitting and breathing… so you can imagine how hard it can be for our youngsters here! Nevertheless, we got some positive feedback from quite a few students:
- Those who meditated before breakfast reported to feel more “ready” and “attuned” with the tasks of the school day.
- Meditation before night helped some of our kids relaxing and have a better night and quality sleep.
- Most of the kids agreed on a general sense of well-being and lightness at the end of each practice.
We also got some suggestion for improvement:
- More knowledge of Meditation would have helped the students to experience a more enjoyable and effective practice.
- Other students giggling during the practice did not really help those who had a more serious commitment.
Of course we got a few comments about boredom and difficulty to stay still for “such a long time”…
We did not want to miss the opportunity to explain to our students that, certainly some of the benefits of Meditation such as training the muscle of attention, being able to refocus when the mind wonders, being able to respond rather than react etc, requires a sufficient amount of practice. However there are some immediate benefits that can be experienced in the very same moment that we stop and simply pay attention to our breath:
- Our heart rate decreases and we immediately feel more calm and relaxed. This can be used as a very effective tool before a test or when something upsets us.
- We immediately build a connection with our inner world.
- We can use the few moments it takes to notice just three or four breaths to appreciate and celebrate our lives.
This last point in particular has been the main object of our presentation. Appreciating our lives means that we learn to take care of ourselves, we understand that we deserve to be loved and we got to love ourselves in the first place.
We asked many of our kids what do you love? and we got many different replies: I love football, pizza, cars, being with friends etc etc but across all the different cultures and nationalities,we noticed that nobody is carrying knowledge of Self-Acceptance and Love towards oneself. We believe that particularly in our context these are key elements to become familiar with and eventually embody values such as Respect, Tolerance, Altruism and Compassion. For this reason we asked one of our youngest student to lead a slightly different Meditation session where he invited us to close our eyes, take a couple of deep breaths, focus our attention on our true selves and on the count of 3 say I LOVE YOU to ourself out loud.
The experiment got more thrilling when our “guide” invited us to find a partner and, going beyond his/her physical appearance say I LOVE YOU out loud to his/her true self, like you really mean it, he added!
It was simply a fantastic experience and all the giggles and laughters and embarrassments were totally natural, we are not used to these things…but we really hope that these leaders of the future will keep into their hearts these seeds of love… our planet and our species definitely need heartful leaders!