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Questions and Answers About Meditation, Yoga, the Spiritual Life, and More

Category: Spiritual Parenting

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Songs and Prayers for Children
September 17, 2011

Amber
USA

Question

I am wondering if Master or Swamiji ever created or suggested a special song or prayer for children. Often when I start our nightly prayers with "Divine Mother, Heavenly Father, Friend Beloved God. . ." my two-year-old son asks for a song. Any suggestions? He loves the song "Receive, Lord, in Thy Light" song for meals and always joins in at the end for the "Aum" part.

Thank you.

David Eby

David Eby

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Amber - yes, there are quite a few children's songs that I think you would like. The first is Guide Me Lord:

1. Guide me, Lord, throughout this day; In all I do, in all I say. Tell me when I go astray; Hold me in Thy light. 2. Help me see that happiness Comes not with wanting more, but less. Teach me all my friends to bless, Hold them in Thy light.

The other is Of His Dreams Our Love Was Made:

1. God is our father, our mother, too; God is our dearest treasure. God's ever near, the one friend who Loves us without any measure. Of his dreams our love was made. Only from Him is love repaid. 2. Let us in gladness all live for Him; Serve Him in every season. Serve Him with thought, with hand and limb; Love Him without any reason. God befriends us as we are: Fools we, that hold his love afar!

Some albums available on iTunes are All the World Is My Friend and I Came From Joy, published by Crystal Clarity Publishers.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance!

In joyful service,

David

Dp
USA

Question

What is the best way to teach a six year old to meditate.

I MAKE mine mentally chant a mantra for 15minutes followed by the AUM MEDITATION.

But he does not like to meditate and he keeps fidgeting.

Nayaswami Nitai

Nayaswami Nitai

Ananda Village

Answer

Usually it's counterproductive to force children to meditate or chant. It builds up a resistance that can take decades to break down.

It's better to find ways of involving them that they like, for instance stories and games that have some spiritual overtone. The classic approach in India is tell young children stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Books available through Crystal Clarity that could help you in this are: I Came from Joy, For Goodness Sake, and The Time Tunnel.

minismom
india

Question

dear expert,

i love your blogs.i am presently married into a family which so very different from mine. it stresses me out totally. i have a beautiful 2 yr old whom i love more than my own life. i take excellent care of her too.however when i get stressed out especially due to inlaws issues, i loose patience with my kid. she becomes the target of my weakness. the result,i feel guilty all the more and undeserving too h

Hassi Bazan

Hassi Bazan

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear One,

I understand how stress and impatience can surface, especially when children are young. It is important to make sure you have a way to nuture your inner life so you can ride the waves better. It is the best preventative for stress.

I know that is easier said than done with a husband, in-laws and a child and duties that are 24/7!

I don't know if you have a meditation practice, do yoga postures or do the energization exercises but if you do any of these soul centering practices hang on to them, even if once a day or once a week! Any amount of inner peace will go a long way during a stressful day.

And keep God in your mind and heart. In whatever form God comes to you call His or Her name........saying Divine Mother, Divine Mother please be with me. God hears any thought or prayer of the heart.

Then if you become 'impatient' with your daughter you will find you will spring back quicker and even have the right words to say to her in apology for being off center. Your daughter will understand and will easily forgive and forget. If you are open with her like that she will help you remember the next time you get impatient with her to think of God and relax.

We can't so easily get rid of frustration overnite but we can work with it as well as we know how. God or Heavenly Father or Divine Mother will step in and show us new ways to talk with Them, to act and center ourselves.

If you do Yoga Postures or Energize ask your little girl to do them with you.....she would even sit and meditate with you for a short time if you ask her...'because Mommy is doing it'. I teach preschool and I know that children that young enjoy yoga postures and meditation in a this form. I like it because it centers me and the entire class together.

This also deeply connects you and her so your practice is not separate from her. Also, you husband can join in!

Be creative, be kind to yourself because you are doing your best and your daughter and God know it.

And he never gives us more than we can handle but we have to ask for His help and strength and love to be with us!

Let me know how it goes.

Blesssings,
Hassi

Marriage and family
June 24, 2010

Ravi
India

Question

I am a reasonably spiritual person & love humanity. I have been married for 20 yrs with a childhood friend of mine. I was highly satisfied with my life & career growth till 5 yrs back when I learnt that my wife had been cheating on me for a decade. I am devastated since then and survived solely due to my spiritual leanings & responsibilty for my kids. We are now separated for 2 years but I wish her to come back for kids sake as it's none of their fault. Am I wrong & weak or right in my thinking?

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Ravi,

It is important that your wife agree with your proposal so that her returning is something you both feel is right.

I assume from your note that you have the children with you and that she left the home (perhaps at your insistence).

Having both parents together is only a benefit if there is harmony between them.

It is important you be clear in your intentions as to what expectations you may have if your wife were to return: is it only for the sake of the children or do you hope to reunite as a couple? Are you looking for household help in cooking or cleaning? These expectations should be clear and discussed with your wife and her consent and agreement are important.

Pray to God and the Masters for guidance in this matter and consider consulting someone who knows you and the family and whose judgement is wise and impartial.

Blessings,

Hriman

Kaivalya
USA

Question

Should one give up having a child for the spiritual path OR can having a child be ones dharma, gods will, a part of the spiritual path? How do you know which path is for you? What path do you take in marriage if both people have differing viewpoints (desires)? What are Yogananda's guidelines about having children?

with

Gratitude

Kaivalya~

Nayaswami Devi

Answer

Dear Kaivalya,

The paths to God are as varied as there are individuals. For some people, being a renunciate and withdrawing from all worldly involvement is the way to inner freedom. For others fulfilling one's earthly responsibilities with non-attachment and with the thought of God brings realization.

Certainly raising children is the spiritual dharma for many people. If you are uncertain as to what is right for you, the best course to follow is to pray for guidance. Concentrate deeply at the spiritual eye, and offer your prayer-demand to God with deep focus and sincerity. Then try to feel the divine answer in your heart as a calm, clear, joyful feeling.

If both partners in a marriage do not feel clear about having children, it's best to wait. Raising a child is a lifetime responsibility, and unless you can joyfully embrace this step, it is often a cause of unhappiness and stress. It's important for a couple to talk about this step, and to agree together if and when they are ready for children.

Yogananda did not say specifically if it was better for people to have children or not. He was too great a soul not to know that everyone's karma is different.

What he did say was parents should fulfill this dharma without a sense of attachment to their children or to the thought that raising a family in and of itself will bring fulfillment. He said to feel you are serving God through your children, and to offer your service back to God.

The best attitude in all aspects of life is to hold the thought that our true happines lies in God alone.

Craig
America

Question

Last Sunday I awoke later than normal. Usually I meditate when my family is sleeping When I announced that it was time for me to meditate, my 4 yr old said he wanted to also, he sees me do this in the evening.

I fixed him a place next to me and gave him basic instruction. Amazingly he sat quietly for the full 24 minutes.

All week long he has talked about when we meditate on Sat. & Sun.

I wonder how much is wanting to be like dad & how much is genuine spiritual need. How can I help him along?

Answer

Meditation is a good habit, so I would let your son mediatate with you for as long as he wants to.

What a blessing that he is not only open to it at such a young age, but that he is self-motivated. My two children enjoyed sitting on our laps at the end of our meditations, but didn't sit next to us (my husband and I) for any period of time. I would go with the child's inclination, and share with him how you feel about your special meditation time together.

He may want to be like his dad, and what a great role model you are! Children learn by example, and you are giving him a wonderful tool for life. I would let him determine when and how long he meditates, and see what transpires...

Sarah Brink,
Family Ministry
Ananda Village

Note from the editor: You may enjoy reading Supporting Your Child's Inner Life book by Narani Moorhouse, an Ananda school teacher, available for free online.

My child is using drugs
August 25, 2009

Brian M Dotson
us

Question

I was recently at the Spiritual Renewal Week (Ananda Village), and spoke with so many wonderful yogis. While I was there, difficulties with my children arose involving drug use. One was receptive to my parental approach upon my return. My older son who is using as well has hardly talked to me in two years and acts more hateful than ever.

He continues to make me feel like my heart has been ripped out! Hriman counsels me frequently and his words and my spiritual practice helps... but I'm still in deep pain from all of this.Blessings

Answer

Family dynamics are often intense, and there are no quick fixes.

If a child is blocking a parent's help, it can't be forced upon him or her. Sometimes there is nothing a parent can do but keep the child surrounded in prayer ... and wait. It is a good time to affirm that the child really belongs to God, and that in the long run God is in charge of the soul. The prayers will bear fruit in God's time.

For a classic example read about the relationship between St. Augustine and his mother in his Confessions.

Nitai Deranja
Founder, Principal
Ananda Living Wisdom Schools

Should I become a mother?
January 6, 2009

Sabine
Europe

Question

Hello,

a question that has been bothering me for quite a while is whether it is my duty as a married (and healthy) woman to have children?

Thank you and kind regards.

Nayaswami Anandi

Nayaswami Anandi

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Sabine,

In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna explains that each person has a unique dharma (duty) to fulfill. What is a right and admirable duty for one person, is not necessarily appropriate for another person. Each of us needs to tune in to what feels right for us, as opposed to what others tell us they are doing, or what seems generally to be a good idea for most people.

Having children is a source of joy for many people and brings many people great fulfillment. These are the people who should have children. The criterion for knowing if you should have children is if you feel this will be something you and your husband can do with joy.

It is very helpful in a marriage for a couple to share some form of selfless service together. Raising children together is one such form of service. There are many other ways of uniting your energy through serving others - you might create music together to share with others; you might take on a service project in your town to help others less fortunate.

It might be fun for you and your husband to exercise your imaginations and think what form of service to others would be inspiring to both of you. Again, don't being bound by what others do, but what inspires the two of you.

In divine friendship,

Anandi

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