Yesterday we had a massive snow storm here in the NY area. The first time I went out to shovel two of my young neighbors, both fathers with small children, were outside with their snow blowers. Neither one of them so much as looked in my direction although it was plain to see how small a dent my little shovel and I were making in the face of the blizzard. One of them was my next-door neighbor who has never gone beyond his property line with his snow blower. I like these young neighbors and we get along well.
This is not a case of having neighbor difficulties – it’s symptom of not feeling a connection to the plight of others. I don’t expect my neighbors to clear my snow on a regular basis. I understand that it is my responsibility and I always do it, but clearly this was not an ordinary snowfall.
Growing up my father always offered to help neighbors on our block. When our next door neighbor divorced he never hesitated to help her out. My brother-in-law does the same thing with his neighbors too. Recently we had a very light snow fall and I shoveled my other neighbors sidewalk in the afternoon while he was at work. I never said anything either because it didn’t matter. It just felt good doing something nice for someone. Plus, it’s what neighbors do.
I went out again in the afternoon to try to keep up with the snow and halfway through the front sidewalk my other next-door neighbor, a baby-boomer like myself, yelled over and told me he’d finish with his snow blower – which he has done for me numerous times. I was so grateful to him. The sidewalk is always the hardest because the town snow plow throws mountains of heavy packed snow and ice directly onto the walk.
With this contrast in neighborly behavior in mind I wondered if something had been bred out of people – the something that tells us we’re all connected and drives us to lend a helping hand to others. I contemplated whether a daily practice of connecting to the unconditional love from Universal Mind could restore this connection? I happen to believe it would be helpful. But how would we instill this daily habit? What better way than to start at a young age and teach meditation in schools?
What got me thinking about all this though was that the other day I left a comment on a blog at The Huffington Post. Esmerelda Williams Noble’s son jumped to his death at the Bobst Library at NYU. The post initially caught my eye since I’d attended NYU. Williams-Noble said in her post that she believed,”if children were taught yoga and meditation from an early age, we would see a dramatic reduction in dis-eases, including suicide.”
I responded with the following comment which I abbreviated here:
I am in agreement with you that we need to offer meditation courses in public schools. Were we a nation of meditators the truth that we are all connected and that when one hurts we all hurt would create a very different society where the subtle warning signs of your son’s mental state might not have gone unnoticed.
I’ve been meditating for over 25 years and can attest to the benefits. Had I been taught to meditate in grammar school instead of at age 27 I would have had the tools to fend off much of the teenage angst and self-deprecating thoughts I experienced growing up.
Meditation strengthens us from the inside out – where we truly need the strength to draw from during lives fraught with so many pressures. Children taught meditation as coping a mechanism would learn to go within during times of great difficulty to access this strength, comfort and peace. Meditation reveals to us that we are not alone but always connected to a source that not only has solutions for every problem we face, but that loves us unconditionally no matter what we achieve according to society’s standardized measures.
You can read her entire post here: http://tinyurl.com/ydm3rrc
What do you think about placing meditation on the curriculum at public schools? I believe it would foster a spiritual connection to all life, bolster self-esteem, problem solving and creativity Would it change our citizens from the inside out? Share your ideas –
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