Imagine a class full of rambunctious, giggling, squabbling, squirming six year olds, and think about how much fun you could have attempting to talk all of them into listening to you. Where would you start? If you aren’t a teacher, work in daycare or don’t come from a large family, you might be tempted to end the fantasy prematurely.
Then again, you might be acquainted with mindfulness practice. And if you’re lucky, the kids are too. Then you can simply ask the class to be mindful and calm. In a short couple of minutes, your request for them to please listen would be taken up by all, immediately.
So what is this mindfulness business in the classroom doing? Or out of the classroom for that matter? The one thing that stands out in my view is how beneficial learning to be aware of our own calmness is. From there it’s a short reach to recognizing that calmness is always available to us. Building on understanding exactly what our own calm is, and that we can choose this state at any time, is a valuable addition, not just to self awareness, but to confidence.
To be aware of our capacity – the fact that, although we don’t understand yet, we can, and we will understand – this is fundamental to confidence. From such a relatively small task as learning to closely relate to our own calm, the way to quickly see similar connectedness to anything we want to achieve opens up.
No matter our age, from the position of calm, observation is easy. From easy observation comes awareness of more possibilities. From awareness of more possibilities, comes potential for highly creative thinking – and outcomes.
This may be far from the ideas of self-control and discipline you and I were raised with. That there’s no control involved, simply a choice we can make at any time, may feel a little backwards. But if we’ve been moving backwards for so long, to move forward will seem the reverse for a time. A short period of doubt and insecurity gives way to the more creative, useful and resilient reality. It’s a small choice, but a powerful one, even if you don’t have thirty kids to contend with!