Saturday, May 28, 2011


Today I went to a "Alexander Technique and Meditation" workshop. Something very unique and since I didn't have much experience with either of those 2 methods I was intrigued and well surprised. Not just by the outcome for myself but also by the realisation how close this can be related to parenting.

We started off with some easy led meditation and afterwards a girl asked what you do if you suddenly feel your nose itching or your foot being uncomfortable. I thought that you would obviously try to sort such things out quickly to go on with your meditation without being distracted. After all that's what it's all about. Or is it ?
The answer was - it isn't. Especially Zen meditation is rather about being in the moment. Feeling the moment. Feeling the situation, the surroundings but also your body and your soul TOGETHER. An itchy nose or a slight twist in the body can rather be seen as a challenge. What does that feel like? Can I actually stand it? Will it go away or will it get worse? Can other thoughts distract me from that and make me forget about it? This is being with yourself in THAT moment. And more. It is about dealing with also the unpleasant situations. We tend to invite and deeply enjoy the good thoughts, the fun, the joy. At the same time we try to avoid difficult situations, find the easiest way out and do all we can to bring ourselves back to the easy going place. Unfortunately this is a one way track. We don't learn how to deal with conflicts, bad or even sad moments. We find it more and more difficult to cope. And we concentrate on the good stuff which we can't often enjoy as much because the disability to handle the bad stuff is floating above us more and more. You can see where this is going.

It doesn't mean that you shouldn't scratch your nose straight away when it bothers you or that you should watch that mosquito bite you just for the experience of dealing with it for hours or days afterwards. It just means to try and find the middle. Don't always go the easiest way. Don't always just run away from difficult situations or those that could possibly be some.

And this was when I quickly made a loop to the most present topic in my head nowadays - parenting. We try to teach our children to cope with frustration from a very early age. When they want to move in a way they can't yet (rolling over and back again, crawling, walking etc...), when a toy is stuck under the cupboard, when out playing with other kids and conflicts arise... The list goes on. And with the above explanation you see how IMPORTANT it is to really let this happen.
Still a lot of parents say "I can't let my child cry, I can't see him struggle, he will learn to deal with frustration or conflicts early enough." Well and this is where I slowly shake my head and say: "No he won't." Because of that spiral, that one way road. He will rather either learn to rely on the parent to solve the problem for him or he will learn how to leave it, run away, go on with something else and start to ignore conflicts.

I do not say to implement Zen meditation on your child. I'm saying: Give them the chance to struggle, the opportunity to express anger and the possibility of a self found solution. Not all the time and not under pressure. Just so they can experiences the down side as well as the fun side to not just find their middle in life but also find it joyful and satisfying. And after all - to not let them sit in a meditation workshop at the age of 30 and suddenly realise what they have not known, missed out and are now at the very beginning of learning.

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