The Joyful Mind Kids have spent the last two weeks practicing with Mindful Bodies. This is the first lesson in the Mindful Schools curriculum and an essential aspect of practice. A mindful body is a body that is aware — it’s the safe place we can come home to in each moment.
I like using stones to introduce mindful bodies. With my kids age ten and under, I tell a story about a mountain and call mindful bodies, Mountain Bodies. Homework for this first class is to find a round, smooth stone that fits in the palm of your hand and bring it to class the following week.
We call these Stillness Stones and they represent the solidity and refuge of own body. Sitting with the weight of the stone in our hands, using that touch point as an anchor, is very grounding. Last week, kids reported feeling calm, happy, and still.
This week, kids enjoyed wet-felting their stones. This is a great sensory play activity — warm soapy water, soft wool, bubbles — much to be mindful of.
For more on mindfulness with stones, check out Thich Nhat Hanh’s pebble meditation.
A practice verse to use with this lesson is:
Body like the mountain.
Heart like the ocean.
Mind like the sky.
We use this verse by Dogen as a call and response to close the each Children’s Program at Green Gulch Farm. The pictorial images resonate with the children and remind us that the capacity for being as solid as a mountain or spacious as they sky is always with us.