First meditation from guest blogger Caroline Sherwood.
From the book: Making Friends with Ourselves: Introducing Children to Meditation.
Intro A Crisis of Sensitivity
The ecological crisis is actually a crisis of sensitivity, which is in fact a crisis of the senses. Living at too fast a pace (with insufficient time to process information, impressions and experience) thinking and talking too much, and over-use of technology – all have the effect of narrowing the sense fields. Eventually this leads to desensitization. Desensitization leads to a sense of separation; both internally and externally.
In the 1980s I brought Sun Bear, a Native American Chippewa medicine man to England for a national tour. He would point out that what we do not acknowledge and praise will disappear from our lives. So often, when we observe Nature, we are actually only perceiving memories, expectations, thoughts, ideas and what others have told us.
To sense accurately, we need to become still enough and present enough to allow the presence of Nature to communicate to us.
Teachers in this field, such as Patrick MacManaway, Marko Pogaçnik, Susan Raven and Saryon Michael White tell us that the natural world ‘doesn’t operate in Beta’. We literally need to slow down enough for our brainwaves to shift out of their habitual patternings in order to establish a healthy relationship with Nature. Meditation can help with this.
In my children’s meditation book I offer three experiments to assist with deepening a relationship with the natural world. Here is the first:
Ssh! WHAT CAN YOU HEAR?
To encourage investigation of a sense other than sight
To develop simultaneous concentration & relaxation
To experience direct perception (without categorisation/judgement)
To distinguish between response and reaction
When you are outside in the garden, or walking in the country or park:
SIT DOWN, CLOSE YOUR EYES, &……LISTEN
What can you hear?
WHISPER QUIETLY EVERY NEW SOUND THAT YOU HEAR
NOW, SILENTLY, CONCENTRATE ONLY ON THE SONGS THE BIRDS ARE SINGING
Don’t reach out to listen to them, and don’t name them in your mind.
JUST LET THE SOUNDS COME INTO YOU…& PASS THROUGH YOU
Can you let the sounds blend with your soft breath?
Remember not to screw yourself up into a knot.
Don’t forget to breathe out with a gentle Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh…
If you find yourself thinking or noticing anything else,
STOP & START ONLY NOTICING THE SOUNDS
Can you hear the sound without telling yourself what’s making it?
YOU CAN OPEN YOUR EYES AND LOOK AROUND YOU.
- Recording different everyday sounds
- Projects on regional accents and how voices distinguish people
- Study of animal sounds
- Writing about hearing and listening
- Discussion: What is thought?
- Experiencing effects of different sounds and music