Teaching stillness

By Wendy Ray

In the meditaion group last Monday, we practiced taking small bits of time (a minute or less) and getting still or centered.  There was a baby on the floor in front of us and the regular noises of The Family Room around us, but we found that it was very powerful to take just those moments to stop and feel the peace that is always present inside of us.  I have an app on my phone (mindfulness bell) that rings every so often throughout my day just to remind me to simply stop and breathe for a moment.

How do we teach our children about the value of stillness?  My daughter’s Waldorf teacher suggests that children learn through stories.  Here is a story I wrote for her based on an experience that happened to me a number of years ago.  Feel free to read this to your children.

Once upon a time, there was a young prairie dog that lived in a meadow at the edge of a forest.  She was the oldest of her siblings, so although she was not yet fully grown she had a few privileges that came with being the oldest.  One such privilege was that she was allowed to take walks on her own.  This particular day was the first day of Spring.  The little prairie dog decided that she wanted to celebrate by walking to the top of the hill nearest their hole and watch the sun go down.  After dinner, the prairie dog set out on her walk.  She followed the path leading to the top of the hill and was soon sitting peacefully watching the sun go down.  She was looking forward to the coming of the sweet green grass and the new leaves on the trees.  Before she knew it, the sun slipped below the horizon turning the sky a rosy pink.  She got up and began to wander down the path.  Darkness was coming on quickly. The path became difficult to see and soon, she was lost.  She began to walk faster, her legs getting scratched by the low bushes she stumbled through.  She was frantically running about as she got more and more worried about finding the path.  It was fully dark now and she was scared.  At one point, her tears were making it hard to see, so she sat down on the hillside.  She put her head down in her paws and cried.  When her tears finally slowed down, she lifted her head and saw a big round moon looking down on her.  She just sat there for a moment, forgetting her fear and gazing at the moon.  In her stillness, she began to feel hopeful again.  She took a deep breath and stood up.  Within a few steps, she noticed that the ground under her paws felt smooth.  She had found the path!  She was so happy that she ran the rest of the way home. She promised herself that next time she felt scared, she would stop and sit still for a moment, knowing that she would soon know what to do.

The story was originally published in my blog, www.LettingLightLead.com.