Sunday, July 5, 2009

Meditation, Your Children, and You

Some time ago, I posted that I intended to write on the potential of meditation to help the behavior of children, including in regard to adolescent rebellion.

I am only expressing this from my personal opinions, reasonings, and experience.

I have had numerous experiences with meditation in the past. In all of the times when I have successfully practiced meditation, it has helped me in numerous ways: it has calmed me; it has helped me to think with greater clarity; it has helped me to sleep better and to need less sleep. More recently, I believe it has helped me in learning, in the retention and understanding of information I have studied.

Recently, I read through a book named 'Jose Silva's Everyday ESP.' Don't get too stuck on the title. While it discusses elements of ESP, and to a great degree intuition, it has exceptional meditation exercises, and if for nothing else but that I highly recommend the book, or similar materials from Silva International ( ). You don't need to spend hours struggling to meditate, it is not that difficult. The practice sessions may take you some time, 15-30 minutes at a time, or so. As you practice it will come easier, and I can not list all of the benefits.

The book and some other Silva materials also explain some of the workings of meditation, such as physiological effects, namely on brainwave frequency. They state that meditation encourages the brain to act at a slower but more stable brainwave frequency, called 'alpha', similar to that which is common in children aged 7-14, and also notes that these frequencies are associated with better creativity and intuition. The book also states that ~90% of people, from the age of 15 on, begin to 'naturally' think at a higher but less stable brainwave frequency called 'beta', which is associated with physical activity. The exact ages vary from person to person, of course.

The Silva methods are claimed to be able to help children escape getting 'stuck' thinking at beta frequencies and help them to continue thinking at the more productive alpha frequencies. They also claim to help adulted get 'unstuck' and to regain the ability to think and function at alpha. Silva International has also done and funded a lot of research on these methods, and from my own experience, I agree with their claims at least as far as creativity and intuition go.

When I read that the idea of beta brainwaves being associated with physical activity, it reminded me of a time when I first became diabetic and was reading books on diabetes. One described the problem that young children have trouble measuring out their insulin dosages because they have not yet developed fine motor control, something that tends to develop roughly around their teens. Perhaps a connection to beta brainwave development?

I ask you to keep an open mind as I suggest an idea. If alpha brainwaves of pre-adolescent children give a degree of intuition, then perhaps it gives them a 'sense' of how to communicate with people around them. If ~90% of children lose the ability to operate at these brainwave levels, then they would lose this intuition. Then, to these children, it would appear to them that people aren't paying any mind to them, that people aren't trying to communicate with them anymore.

If this is true, then the problem with this perception is that other people have not changed - the children have changed. They have changed, and perhaps they did not need to, perhaps they changed only because noone showed them how to keep what they had while they had it. I believe this to be a major contributing factor to the rebellious attitudes associated with adolescence.

After I came to this suspicion, I decided to see what I could find connecting meditation and adolescent rebellion. I didn't find anything directly on the issue, however I did find a study that Silva had done on Silva Method's affects on behavioral problems in children: the results of that showed that Silva Method was beneficial.

Meditation is easy. I do not believe that it is able to hurt anyone, though my opinion is not a professional one. The benefits that I have experienced, and that I suspect others would also, are surprisin, and likely better than many activities you could engage in. Meditation also takes less time than you may think, and it gets even easier with time. It doesn't take a lot of time, and you can decide how much time to spend on it. Even professional opinions show that, if nothing else, meditation helps in stress management and can help with insomnia and hypertension (high blood pressure). It doesn't require pills, chanting mantras, or saying 'aummmm.' For your happiness, for your peace of mind, for your health, I ask you to consider it.

If you will not for yourself and you have children, then I ask you to at least look into it for their benefit.

Disclaimer: I have no personal and no professional affiliations with Silva International.

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