Meditation. I’ve talked about it before in several of my blogs, and those of you that know me, know how big I am on meditation and it’s benefits to us mentally, emotionally, and most of all – spiritually.
It’s a big deal.
Tonight, I had the honor of demonstrating to a very special person in my life some of the beginnings of meditation, from mindfulness, to imagery, to yoga nidra. I opted specifically for these types of meditation because of the “student” I was with. They’re simple to understand and they are guided, with the exception of mindfulness (though it can be for beginners), so I knew my student would be able to follow without too much of an issue.
The student? Oh, ya – that’s my nine-year-old nephew. We’d developed a routine when he went to bed where… well, here, let me explain a little.
A couple of years ago, my nephew, who I’ll refer to as JL from here on out, was having quite the time of sleeping at night. At the time, I couldn’t tell if it was, “I’m afraid,” or “I don’t want to,” but either way, he didn’t try to sleep. It was very, very frustrating, to say the least. He’d get up at midnight, and it was a nightmare trying to get him back to bed and stay there. Sometimes there was crying, sometimes pouting, and sometimes standing at the door waiting for him to pass out.
Then it dawned on me – he needed to know that we were there. Something triggered a fear in him that we were gone, even though we weren’t. That must have been a terrifying feeling, waking up and feeling lonely and left alone. I could get into why I think this happened to him as a baby, but that’s a story that isn’t mine to tell, so it shall remain the mystery it is. Meanwhile...
I devised a plan for him that would seem to be a punishment at first. And he took it that way initially, until it became routine. Now, he looks very forward to this routine, and requests that his father make sure one of his uncles checks up on him. The plan?
I would sit with him for about five minutes and we’d talk about his day, or we'd talk about a question he had or something that was bothering him. Then I’d make up a silly story about things in life. Just silly, fun stuff. It may have had something to do with our previous conversation, or it may not.
And then I would give him one minute, “sixty-seconds,” I would explain, to lay there and sit still. I would leave and grab him some water, or a pillow, or hot water bottle; something to get out of the room, but so that he’d know I would be back. It occupied his racing mind with the test of my return, a chance to prove I'd be there.
Once I came back, I would give him his water bottle, and then give him five minutes, and leave. Every time I came back to check on him, I would increase the count by five more; so ten, fifteen, twenty, and so on. I think I can only recall a few times that he stayed awake past fifteen minutes, most of the time he passed out during the ten-minute interval.
What was the point? He knew someone was there. Someone was watching him. And it worked like a charm almost always – only occasionally did we stretch beyond ten or fifteen minutes..
And that’s still the typical evening routine. But there’s a major flaw with it… we’re all moving soon. Oi.
Tonight, as I was laying him down and beginning our discussion, it occurred to me that the move was on JL’s mind – the first comment out of his mouth was, “I haven’t seen you in a long time. It’s going to get even longer.” Crushed me, really. I’ve been so busy with meetings, the blogs, website, and the move, that I’ve pretty much neglected him to death. Poor kid. And it was obvious he was worried.
I began to realize that he didn’t really have any skills to cope with this on his own. His dad is a damn good dad, but his dad is Dad, not Uncle. He needed to know he would be okay. So how?
I asked him if he believed in God. He said he did. I asked if he knew how to pray. He said it didn’t know how. I explained to him that praying was a way of releasing what's on our minds; questions, requests, concerns -- acknowledgment of our "stuff."
Praying can make one feel like they have something to contribute to the situation; somewhere to let go of their concerns and fears; and a hope that something bigger than ourselves exist in life.
Then I explained how to pray.
Next I asked if he knew how to meditate. Again, he didn’t know how. I explained that this was a way to listen for answers, to hear what is going on in our minds, and to connect with the Creator.
Meditation is letting go and being at peace with what is happening right HERE, right NOW. In that release, we lose fear and insecurities, thereby making room for, and gaining, peace and serenity.
Then I decided to show him how to meditate.
This was the part I liked.
It was great. We started out with simple breathing, where I guided him through it. Then we did some mindfulness, and I guided him as to what to listen for and feel and see. I also explained how it was useful for when we get over excited, whether with anger, happiness, sadness, or fear. We talked nearly twenty minutes, at his prompting, about meditation, and even practiced some. It was so awesome, I can’t explain the peace that was there, the serenity. He really got into it. And he also got very tired.
Eventually, we ended it with our typical count down, but there seemed to be a difference tonight. He was introduced to something he hadn’t been shown before, prayer and meditation; and he showed great interest in them. Of course, remembering it will be a different story, but he’ll get there.
He’s got me as an uncle.