Take a jar and fill it with water.
Then take a cup of sand and let the kids add a grain of sand at a time to the water. As they do this, explain to them that the grains of sand are like their thoughts – every day we have thousands of thoughts, some are beautiful, some are nasty, but all of them are just like grains of sand, filling our minds.
Then close the jar and give it a good shake, letting the sand swirl around in the water. Explain to your children how our constant activity and busy-ness in life churns up all sort of thoughts and sends them swirling through our minds.
Then place the jar down and watch it as the sand starts to settle. Explain to them that this is just like meditation. If we take time out each day from our constant activity to just be still and allow the thoughts in our minds to float and settle, eventually our minds will become clear.
There is no effort required – if we try to force the sand to settle by putting a hand in and coaxing it down, all we do is stir up the mind again. All that is needed is stillness, to stop all our doing and just be. Watch your thoughts as they swirl around before they settle. Just watch. And in time your mind will become as clear as the water.
Even very young children can be introduced to the concept of meditation, although they shouldn’t be expected to sit still for any period of time. Let them decide when they are ready. As with anything else, the best way to entice children into an interest in mediation is to be a good example. Children who see you sitting in meditation once or twice a day will naturally develop an interest in meditation and will want to imitate you.
The practice of meditation is one of the greatest gifts that you can give to your child, so take time each day to be a great role model!