In "Love Surrounds Us," a Tapestry of Faith program
Participants learn a simple loving kindness walking meditation in the Buddhist tradition. Explain that meditation is a way of focusing thoughts to achieve calm and has been a spiritual practice in many religions for thousands of years. Explain, in your own, child-friendly words:
Although most people associate mediation with Buddhism, where it is an integral spiritual practice, people of any religion can practice meditation. Some people sit to meditate and some people walk.
Tell participants they will be walking in this session. They will do a meditation to send loving kindness to the world and to individuals.
Ask participants to line up with an arm's length between them. Have a co-leader take the last place in line. Tell the children to notice their starting spot.
Lead the meditation, with these words or your own:
Don't close your eyes because we will be walking.
Take a deep breath and slowly exhale.
Now breathe normally.
Notice the air coming out of your nose.
Focus the mind on normal breathing.
Feel your feet pressed into the ground.
Try to gently push away other thoughts.
Allow the body to relax. Try not to be stiff.
Breathe slowly for one minute.
Now begin to think about acceptance and kindness.
Is there someone you need to be kinder to? Begin to repeat that person's name in your head.
Begin walking slowly and continue throughout the rest of the meditation.
Continue to focus on that person.
Stop speaking for one minute, but continue walking.
Now begin to think about a group of people that need kindness and acceptance. Perhaps it is your family, maybe it is children you know without parents, or maybe it is people who are homeless. Think about the groups of people who need loving kindness sent to them.
Stop speaking for one minute, but continue to lead the group in walking.
Now begin to think about our world. Think about things in this world that could be better if there was more love and kindness. Think about specific places in the world that need more love. It might be rainforests, animals, warring countries, your school, your home.
Now let us send love out to the world and ourselves with every breath. Repeat the word "love" in your mind as your exhale. Continue to walk in silence, and return to your starting spot.
When the mediation is complete, ask participants how it felt to send love to people they know and people they don't know. Ask participants how they feel in their bodies right now. Do they feel calm and relaxed? Did they like the quiet time?
Choose a walking area that can accommodate wheelchairs or other movement assistance devices.
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Last updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.
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