It seems that the mind of the average American child
receives ample training from earliest infancy on how
to move in an extroversial direction, meaning that
the flow of mind is directed outwardly, through the
senses and into the physical objects in the environment.
With the help of the motor organs, the child is constantly
engaged in the exploration of this environment. The
objects are recreated in the internal mental sphere
with increasing accuracy and dexterity, until they
can virtually be seen, heard, tasted, touched or even
smelled at the mere thought of them. This tendency
is further nurtured by a society that thrives on the
maximum consumption of a maximum number of consumers.
The young child progresses from distinguishing edible
from non-edible, to circle from square, to b from
d in ever increasing sophistication, getting adult
praise and encouragement all along the way. In fact,
the term "intelligent" has been traditionally
bestowed upon those who can distinguish most accurately,
although the latest research indicates that intelligence
is expressed in many other ways as well.
The problem with all of this is that it is a very
one-sided and unbalanced approach to life. People
become overly materialistic, suffer mental illnesses
in excessive numbers, lose their sense of well-being,
and fall victim to stress if there is no balance.
As a complement, introversial movement of mind should
also be taught to youngsters.
The ability to center oneself, to find a place where
one is mentally content, and to withdraw from the
storm of the senses is becoming increasingly rare.
Such laudable virtues as deep concentration, reflection
and patience are seen in smaller doses and less frequency
in the average classroom. Children increasingly fall
prey to advertising slogans, repeating them externally
and internally, endlessly desiring objects for fulfillment.
Attention spans are on the decline, while irritability
and impulsivity are on the rise.
tracing thoughts to their originating point, you can
find peace, reexamine your choices, regain control
of tendencies that may have been controlling you,
and achieve a sense of purpose and balance. "Quiet
Time" or Meditation is just such an exercise.
Quiet Time has three stages:
Exercise, Singing, Silent Meditation
The first step, exercises are Yoga postures and breathing,
designed to still the mind and make the body more
flexible and relaxed.
The second step, singing has an additional soothing
quality. It also has the effect of taking one's attention
away from the surroundings, preparing one for step
three. The singing starts loud and ends very softly.
The songs invoke universal themes of oneness, brotherhood,
joy of nature, love, and peace.
The third step is a simple process of concentration
that involves withdrawing one's attention away from
the surroundings, away from the senses, and towards
one-pointedness and a simple yet subtle idea: Baba
Nam Kevalam (Love is all there is). The use of a foreign
language phrase preserves the focused mood by invoking
no other reference point outside of the Medtation.
It can be likened to having a certain song that you
only listen to at a special event, and so each time
you hear it, it recreates the mood of that event for
you by association.
has the additional benefits of relaxing the students,
calming their nerves, improving their breathing and
their circulation. It effectively counteracts what
can often be a stressful bus ride to school. Improved
breathing and posture are also intimately linked with
mental function, and therefore classroom performance
is enhanced, as any teacher receiving a group back
from Quiet time can attest to.
So often teachers are heard to say "Concentrate
harder!" But the only technique that is given
for such concentration is to try more and not be lazy.
With meditation, students are learning the finer points
in concentration. This can only be beneficial to them
in all aspects of their lives.
Meditation is one element of the YES programme of