2020 August 23 by Dr. Randy
Join our Zoom group MWF 4:00 PST at https://zoom.us/j/6502999170
Meditation focuses the mind. It can change our view of the world and of ourselves. Our children are exposed to toxic influences on their minds including social media addictions, advertisements on the internet, violence in cartoons, popular music, and video games, and subliminal sexual stereotyping and role modeling. Parents are understandably aghast at some of these exposures, but children and teens with phones and online learning are difficult to monitor. Much of this content is unavoidable in today’s culture. The values promoted in this content often reinforce greed, fear, hostility, and prejudice. Parents do their best to encourage morals and ethics in their children, especially compassion, love, and respect. Meditation can help.
First, meditation can relieve stress reactions. But the form of meditation we do in our group goes well beyond stress reduction (MBSR). The first step in Shamatha (calm abiding) meditation is relaxing the body. Then the practice is to settle the mind, watching the thoughts and feelings that arise in the space of the mind. Settling the mind then leads to a direct experience of the spaciousness and luminosity of that space. This may be the first time that these children (and teens) have carefully observed the contents of their minds. We are tapping into the source of thoughts and feelings, and exploring how different cultures and philosophies view this source.
The results of this practice include heightened performance in music, art, dance, sports, and study. It taps into creativity of the mind. And it calms the impulsive reactivity of emotional responses and distractibility, training the self-discipline of the mental chatter that can sometimes be disruptive. Once children have these skills, they can be used in everyday settings, such as relating to family and friends, and getting to sleep.
Encourage your children to try meditation. Our group is supportive and friendly. This is a great bunch of kids.
Have them tune in to our Zoom sessions on Monday/Wednesday/Friday at 4:00 PST for 8-15 year olds at our Zoom link.
2020 August 12 by Dr. Randy
We are moving our meditation meetings next week to Monday/Wednesday/Friday at 4:00 PT, beginning on August 17. Several of our members are going back to school, either in person or virtually, but everyone seems to be available by 4:00. If anyone needs to miss specific days or has a conflict on some days, that is perfectly fine. They will not miss anything. Hopefully, this time change will also allow new members to join us. So tell your friends.
Our meditation group has been a tremendous success. This is a dedicated and wonderful group of kids, very sincere, and sensitive. My feeling has always been that these children are very special indigo beings who are here to save our world. My goal is to give them the mind training tools to accomplish that by raising themselves and the world around them to a higher frequency. Shamatha meditation is “calm abiding,” and we are already integrating that with Vipasyana, “insight” into the nature of reality. There are no philosophical principles or doctrines included in these meditations, just the experience of the space of the mind and the clear light of the universe. These skills should enhance focus, attention, and acquisition of knowledge.
I invite anyone aged 8-15 years old to join us and try these meditations. There is no sequence. Anyone can join at any time.
Here is the Zoom link for those who need it.
2020 July 21 by Dr. Randy
I am teaching a regular meditation session for children aged 8- 15 years old on Tue and Thu mornings at 10:00 PT through Zoom. These classes should be fun and lead to an online community of friends. No commitment is necessary and there is no fee. These sessions are open to attend at any time, although regular practice will garner the most benefit. Have your kids bring their friends and try it out. Everyone is welcome.
This is a nonsectarian meditation of mind training with no reference to any religious viewpoint. It is known as “calming the mind” or “stillness” in different traditions, intended to improve attention and stabilize the mind. It is not MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) or visualization. It is based on the principle of settling body, speech, and mind in their natural states. The body is relaxed, and in this practice speech represents the motion of the mind usually expressed as the arising of thoughts. And Mind represents awareness of what the mind is doing. The natural state is calm, relaxed, and stable.
Beneficial effects that one could expect are improvement of attention and sleep, and the symptoms of anxiety, nervousness, anger, and sadness if those are problems. Parents could expect to see an improvement in disruptive behavior if that is a problem.
These sessions are open for drop-in on Zoom. We will typically check in at the beginning, have a short talk about meditation, and then have a 12 minute guided meditation. Here is the Zoom link.
2016 October 16 by Dr. Randy
Life has many stresses, and often we are juggling tasks, rushing to activities, and putting out fires in a busy schedule. All of these activities stimulate the sympathetic nervous system. They keep us in a mode of constantly handling emergencies.
The sympathetic nervous system is the fire fighter that responds to demands and perceived threats. This is a very useful function for keeping us safe and alive in dangerous situations. We respond almost instantaneously to a threat. Our foot hits the brake before we think about it, our hand recoils from a hot pan without our conscious intent. People who can handle a barrage of daily crises are often seen as efficient. But persistent stimulation and vigilance creates tension, and that tension can take its toll on bodily functions, resulting in high blood pressure, headaches, inflammation, heart disease, and anxiety.
The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) calms the mind and body. It provides a counterbalance to the many distractions and calamities of the day. It is exceedingly simple to activate the PNS through a whole range of nurturing activities: meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and even just being in nature. These relaxing activities cause a release of tension and its harmful effects. If we incorporate these activities into our daily routine the result will be a sense of ease, comfort, and increased happiness.
Just doing deep breathing will cause a shift from tension to relaxation. Deep abdominal breathing is a simple technique that can be done at a desk several times a day, at a red light in traffic, or during any short break in a hectic schedule. Sit for one minute and just focus on the in and out of breathing. Make this a habit through the day to relieve stress.
More formal meditation sessions in the morning and evening provide a powerful tool for activating the PNS, resulting in long-term benefit for muscular tension, anxiety, and adrenal stress. It will help keep blood pressure under control and calm the mind to become more efficient with a relaxed and less frenetic pace. Many guided meditations are available online. Those from Insight Meditation Centers are especially helpful and easy to access.
For those who prefer a more active form of relaxation practice, yoga or tai chi may be a better fit. Yoga provides the benefits of meditation with a stretching and energetic practice. Tai Chi and Qi Gong are moving forms of meditation. These will require regular classes, but the popularity of yoga has created many opportunities and choices through yoga studios and classes at fitness centers in most communities. Tai Chi and Qi Gong are often offered as a series through local recreation centers. They are especially suitable for older patients who need gentle movement forms.
Getting out into nature has been documented in countless studies to counteract stress. Any form of exposure through hikes, walks outdoors, the ocean, or the forest will benefit physiological functions and relieve tension. Similarly, exposure to animals is beneficial whether they are pets, wild birds, or squirrels. Take breaks from work and get outdoors. Take children to the park. It’s good for them too. Put these activities into your calendar and make time to just enjoy the trees and clouds.