Aditi and I were excited by the opportunity to teach a small group of ‘at risk’ teenagers a relaxation technique. Mainstream education has exhausted all possible teaching formats for these kids, so they are enrolled in a school that has a curriculum structured to accommodate their relatively low attention span.
We delivered an abbreviated talk that focused on the simplicity of how letting go of intense thinking reveals peace and happiness, and dissolves intense behaviour.
When we asked, “What is your highest desire?” the teenagers were quick to identify happiness, peace, freedom and even enlightenment. Winning Lotto was another – but in the end happiness won out.
The primary reason that they wanted to learn a relaxation technique was because they wanted to be accepted for who they are – they’d had enough of feeling isolated and separate in life.
One was aware that he could be happy one moment, and unhappy the next - for no apparent reason. He was also aware he wasn’t his true self when he was with different groups of friends. He said he modified his behaviour to fit in.
When we asked, “Do any of you have a sense that you are here to do something big in this life?” instantly they all said, “yes.”
I suggested the only way they can play big is to let go of the limiting patterns of thinking. It is only the mind that doubts our abilities, or suggests that we are incapable, or we are misfits. Letting go of those thoughts frees us to do whatever big things we are here to do.” It was clear they all understood that.
Within 24 hours of learning their first relaxation technique the teenagers were aware of the changes in their ability to experience peace, and feel good about themselves. It was apparent that they were finding it easier to remain attentive. Three of the students had previously taken up to two hours to get to sleep at night, but they all said they fell asleep soon after using the technique in bed.
One of the fascinating things they all revealed was that they have been searching for peace for a long time – they have all tried different meditation techniques but none had worked.
Chances are this little group of ‘at risk’ teenagers are going to be high achievers. We reckon they are here to do big things. It’s up to them now. All they need to do is continue letting go of their propensity to identify with intense thoughts.
Along with two other meditation teachers, we are planning to provide on-going support for the group. Two academics are participating in this pilot scheme – they both keen to initiate a rigorous research project into the impact of meditation on teenagers.