* Zen Parenting

Thanks to a recommendation from Buddha Mama, I've been reading Zen Parenting: The Art of Learning What You Already Know. Rather, I just barely started reading this book and I'm already reaping the benefits. In my case, the "learning what you already know" part really hits home. The introduction alone has served to remind me that I need to be present in each moment, and that a few minutes of quiet meditation every day will help me do that.

I definitely have a tendency to obsess about my plans - what's going to happen, what could happen, what should happen, how I can make it happen and what I will do if it doesn't happen. This is the opposite of being in the moment, or mindful awareness. Clearly, I need to devote more time to meditation. Because it is also clear that my bad habits are taking a toll on my peace of mind. I've been stressed out and emotionally frazzled and I swear I haven't always been this way! And I can't blame it on motherhood or stepparenting or marriage anymore. I am responsible for my own happiness, or lack thereof. I gotta get a grip!!

So. Starting yesterday, I've been spending just 5 or 10 minutes each morning in quiet meditation. Mornings are usually a bit rushed for Hercules and I, but this week is different. This week I don't have to drop him off at school before I leave for work, because the before/after-school program is closed for Thanksgiving break. Luckily, Pa is off all week so he's been transporting the warrior for me. This gives me quite a bit more time in the morning, and allows Hercules to sleep in just a little longer. So for the past couple of days it has been possible for me to set aside those extra 10 minutes. After this week, though, I'm going to have to be more diligent in order to make that happen. However, I also want to include Hercules, in which case I will start with 3 minutes of quiet meditation before we leave the house. Three minutes is a realistic goal for him, and I really believe that he will benefit from it for the entire day. More importantly, I think that establishing that as part of his daily routine will yield great benefits for him for the rest of his life.

Hercules has been exposed to the idea of meditation before, so I think he will be receptive to it. It is something that they talk about in Tae Kwon Do. At the beginning and end of each class, the instructor has all the students sit on the mat and close their eyes and reflect on what they've learned and what they want to learn. This moment of quiet only lasts about a minute or so, but it's sufficient for his age group.

Also, Hercules and I have talked about meditation before, when we take our Sunday hikes. We were following the Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents, and Sunday is the day in which we delight in the wonders and beauty of nature, remind ourselves that with God anything is possible, and take some time for quiet meditation. Hercules asked me about what meditation means, and I told him that it's like praying, except that when you pray, you are talking to God. When you meditate, you listen quietly so you can hear God talking to you.

I haven't been following my own advice. I haven't been paying attention. But it's never too late to change:)

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