The first Sunday of every month is a time for children at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center. Families file slowly into the zendo for the first part of the Children’s Program. Little ones wiggle and giggle on zafus. Energy buzzes through the meditation hall before the teacher’s talk begins.
Last Sunday, in a short talk geared especially for the kids, Korin Charlie Pokorny told how each of us has a hidden jewel we can share with the world. Asked what that jewel might be, children responded: our happiness, our love, our joy.
The second part of the Children’s Program takes place on the farm among organic vegetable fields, fruit trees, and flower gardens. This part of the program includes a kid-friendly mindfulness practice or seasonal project. Earlier this year we planted corn, beans, and squash — The Three Sisters — in the children’s garden. Last autumn we enjoyed contemplative handwork by making floating acorn cap candles. Another all-time favorite project is launching compost-seed balls into the hillsides.
Last week, after bowing in and offering incense, nearly fifty children practiced metta or loving-kindness meditation together in the peace-garden. Then we crafted metta prayer flags to hang on the children’s play structure.
Children mindfully sewed wishes for the world into colorful cloth panels. Some wishes included, “may all be free,” “may all animals be safe and healthy,” “sharing,” “less pollution,” and “may you see rainbows.”
After giving still, focused attention to their sewing, the children were ready for the out-breath of play. With the wind carrying their metta-wishes to all beings, children climbed, slid, swung, and laughed together. As always, organic apple juice and muffins from the Green Gulch kitchen were enjoyed by all.
Our next program is Sunday, August 4, 2013. We meet on the lawn at 10:00 a.m. near the southwest side entrance of the zendo.
For more information about the Children’s Program, please be sure to visit the Green Gulch website. For the full text of the loving-kindness meditation click here. Hope to see you next month!