Several years ago, I was staying with my father and a news item came through the TV: 350 UK schools are introducing mindfulness meditation to adolescent children at school.
My father’s response to this announcement was: “Well, I’ve never heard anything so bloody stupid.”
As a meditator myself, I was all for the initiative. I wish some bright spark had had the mindfulness to introduce meditation when I was at school.
The benefits of mindfulness meditation, of course, are far better documented than when I was at school in the late eighties until the mid-nineties. Adding meditation to the school curriculum might have made school more bearable for me. I didn’t fit in!
It wouldn’t surprise me if my father’s response was echoed in numerous households up and down the country. If meditation is not associated with “spirituality”, it is considered hippy and hocus-pocus.
On the contrary, mindfulness is a process of self-observation. It involves examining your thoughts, feelings and actions on a daily basis and analysing how you created your experiences, how and why you responded in a certain way and what can you learn.
In essence, adolescents that practice mindfulness can learn more about themselves and mature quicker.
When you see how people in their twenties and thirties (and sometimes older) behave, is adding mindfulness meditation to the school curriculum really the most “stupid bloody thing” you’ve ever heard?
The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
Scientific research is proving what ancient cultures knew thousands of years ago; meditation stimulates the mind and nourishes the body. In some parts of Asia, mindfulness meditation is practised in assembly in the same way westerns schools hold prayers.
Studies have shown that 20-minutes of meditation a day helps improves cognitive function. Because the focusing and refocusing process of meditating is a mental discipline that requires concentration, it helps strengthen neural networks.
MRI scans reveal that brain activity during meditation shows stronger connections in different areas of the brain. This is partly what enables the meditator to expand their conscious awareness.
Another study found that meditation – together with hatha yoga – improves the brain’s executive functions and cognitive abilities. Moreover, the combo is linked with goal-directed behaviour and the ability to control instinctive emotional responses, habitual thinking patterns and destructive behaviour.
Hatha yoga goes hand in hand with meditation because it requires holding the posture for a longer period of time that other yoga practices. This makes your muscles burn and pain in the stretch more noticeable. The only way to last the distance is to evaporate your thoughts and allow the mind to transcend the physical body.
In turn, this helps you learn how to strengthen your concentration levels in meditation. Unless you can concentrate, mindfulness meditation is of little value.
Why Mindfulness Should Be Taught In Schools
Research has already shown that teaching mindfulness meditation in schools is having positive effects on pupils. Students report they feel more optimistic, have more positive emotions, a stronger sense of self-identity and accept themselves more.
In addition, students have a greater sense of personal wellbeing and interact with their peers more comfortably in social settings.
Reports also reveal that students who meditate score higher grades in school exams because they can control their emotions and perform better under stress.
Practising meditation at a young age can also help people avoid problems that typically affect adults. Repressed emotions that sink into the unconscious when we are young start to the surface during adolescent years. If these energies go undetected, they will eventually cause real problems in people’s lives.
“Falling into an inflation (of ego) means a betrayal of one’s instincts (true nature). The instinct protects we have an instinctual protection against inflation. We have all often become inflated and know that when one is inflated one feels uneasy. Even before we fall down the stairs we have the feeling that today we will fall down, because somehow we have a kind of bad conscience or malaise, we don’t know why, and then bump! the punishment for inflation generally comes quickly; one walks into a car, or something like that.” ~ Marie-Louise von Franz, On Divination and Synchronicity
Growing up in high school is often fraught with physical and emotional challenges that eventually cause blockages. This is certainly the case with children that already have a lack of self-esteem and self-worth because they do not receive emotional support from their parents.
I know from personal experience how trapped consciousness can cause illness, life problems and unfulfilling experiences. My sister, Michelle can as well. Read our stories in the About Us page for more information.
Providing children are being trained in the art of mindfulness meditation correctly, I am so pleased they will be able to navigate through difficult times as an adult. Being given the opportunity to train your brain from a tender age can only serve you well, and those around you, in the future.
Healing with Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation has helped my sister and I overcome our personal traumas. Of course, meditation is only part of the healing process, a tool that can be used to carve out the chinks and dig out the roots.
However, you cannot heal unless you understand how the unconscious mind works, or how to work with energy.
Our healing programs show you how to identify repressed energies and destructive behaviours by observing your thoughts, emotions and actions.
We use ancient healing practices such as shamanic reiki and Yoga Nidra, but also adopt modern psychology and teach you how to observe which archetypes are most dominant in your psyche. This helps lead you towards self-realisation.
We also would like to invite you to join us for our free group meditation at 8pm EST on Thursday nights.