Gavin Whyte is the author of The Girl with the Green-Tinted Hair, Happiness & Honey and Waiting for Wings.
Tuesday, 25 February 2014
A few weeks ago I visited Glasgow to watch the showing of the Studio Ghibli film, The Wind Rises.
The weather wasn’t too good, so I decided to grab a seat in the theatre’s cafe and read my book.
I didn't intend on sitting there for two hours, but that’s what happened. I was quite content watching people come and go, in and out of the movie theatre. Some were anticipating the film they were about to see, and others were sharing experiences of the film they had just seen. All the while, I sipped my coffee, read my book and occasionally looked at my watch to make sure I didn't miss the 16:40 showing.
Two elderly women sat down at the table next to me. With them were two boys of about nine years old. Who the women were in relation to the boys, I don’t know.
The boys started to colour in a colouring book whilst the women spoke about wine and the latest results on The Voice.
I drifted off into the world that my book provided me with. All of sudden, they started to talk about (it probably wasn’t all of a sudden at all, but for me this topic of discussion came from nowhere) . . . . meditation and mindfulness.
My eyes were focused on the page in front of me but weren't absorbing anything whatsoever. My ears, on the other hand, were on high alert.
One of the women said, ‘I just can’t do it. My mind won’t calm down. I have too many thoughts – it’s hectic. I just don’t know how he does it.’
Then this is where it got interesting. One of the boys said, ‘I’ll tell you how I do it.’
The ‘he’ the woman was referring to was one of the kids!
The boy continued, ‘When a thought comes, I just let it go. Like a cloud. I watch them and don’t grab onto them. Then they just disappear.’ He then went back to his colouring.
It turns out that these boys were being taught mindfulness and meditation at school.
Every school should include mindfulness and meditation as part of the national curriculum.
As the Dalai Lama said, ‘If every eight year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.’
It sounds far-fetched, but imagine if it’s true!
I know some schools have already introduced such methods in their daily routines. Like sitting in silence, eyes closed, for a few minutes before class starts. Or doing a few minutes at the end of the day.
I’ve just read this interesting article from last year. It was published in The Guardian and was written by Andrew Jones who is the head of religious studies and sociology at a Goffs School in Hertfordshire.