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What does it mean to support the inner life of a child? For me it means helping children reach inside to experience, explore and identify with that part of themselves which is often referred to as the soul. From this awareness they can also probe the ways that they are connected to the same center within the rest of creation and to God.
With such a lofty goal, results, as you might imagine, generally are observed as part of long-term growth. Occasionally though, events can be strikingly dramatic. On one particular day, as part of our ongoing work on inner growth, I lead my class in the following visualization.
Think of something that has happened to you recently that has troubled you and left you feeling hurt or angry at someone. Now imagine yourself back in that situation again, but this time observe it from the outside, as if you were a third person watching it all happen to others. lf you need to, take yourself out of the picture and put another person in your place. Be sure to see her doing what you did, though. Look at how each person is acting and how the trouble got started and is continuing, maybe even getting worse. Try to see why each person is behaving the way she is. Is she afraid of being left out or made to feel unimportant? Is she worried about not getting her own way or losing something she thinks will make her happy?
Now look closely at them. See each one of them surrounded by a bubble of God’s love. See that love reaching deep inside them, into their minds and hearts and washing away their hurt. Watch smiles come to their faces as they forgive each other and remember that happy friendship will make them feel much better than coming out on top, getting their own way, or winning at the other person’s expense. Watch them as they run off together to play, filled with joy and caring for one another.
Now let that same love of God pour into your mind and heart like a beautiful beam of light. Let it flood all over you. Let it erase any pain that you have as it joins with the love of your heart and spreads out to that person you were upset with. See her receive your love and feel uplifted by it. Feel the friendship that you share-deep inside of you, where it will always remain. Now feel yourself right here where you are, but keep that love glowing as you end this meditation.
Later that morning I noticed that two little girls who rarely played together had a wonderful recess with each other. Afterwards, they each came up to me at separate times in a mood of great excitement and a little bit of amazement. Each one shared with me that she had done her visualization on the other girl, and almost magically had begun to like her. We were all amazed at the transformation that had occurred. What a wonderful lesson those girls received!
This story shows one small example of how an active inner life can transform difficult outward conditions into harmonious, happiness-producing occasions. Conversely, people who lack this inner dimension often complain of a nagging emptiness in their lives. How many times have we heard stories of people who seemed to have everything life could offer and yet weren’t happy?
Many of us, as adults, have felt that at some time we lost our connection with our inner lives. We searched desperately, and may still be searching for a way to get back in touch with that essential part of ourselves. We may not even be sure of what it is we are actually looking for, but we do know there is an aspect of ourselves that is more a part of who we really are than just our possessions, appearance, and all the other ways that we usually identify ourselves. We instinctively know that there is some way in which we are connected to the rest of this vast creation, with the essence of life itself, and with a power that sustains it all. We attend countless workshops, read numerous books, and listen to many different teachers, all with the goal of finding that connection within.
Once we are able to reclaim that precious key to happiness and fulfillment, or even a small glimpse of it, we feel so much joy that we inevitably want to share it. We especially want to share it with our children.
That is what this book is about. Through years of teaching children, working with parents, and receiving guidance from numerous people of wisdom and insight, I have observed and tried many ways to open a window through which children might peer into their life within.
Like many others, you may be feeling overwhelmed by your lack of training for the tremendous undertaking of helping children awaken spiritually. The best training for this task, however, is giving time and energy to your own inner life. In other words, you can’t share something that you don’t already have! You will find, as I did, that as you become more and more attuned to your higher self and the divine spirit, you will gain clearer and clearer insights into just the kind of experience that will be most beneficial to each child in your life. Our willingness to help children in this way seems to have a magnetic power to draw to us what is needed. It is as if the Spirit of the Universe reaches down to help in such efforts.
As I was driving one day and thinking about the children in my elementary school class, it suddenly struck me how much they are like radios. I thought how each child was tuned to a particular, inner “radio frequency,” or level of consciousness, and how each child transmitted her own, special vibration outward to the world.
I believe that every child is “plugged in” at birth to a source of joy and power and wisdom, which I call God. And just as radios are surrounded by electromagnetic waves, children are surrounded by the love and care of the divine forces that actively sustain the universe. Our job as parents and teachers is to help children find the frequency that will attune them to that consciousness of fulfillment and joy.
When children learn how to tune in and listen to their own “station,” those divine forces can flow freely. The child can then receive news and information (inner guidance), entertainment (inner states of happiness), and special programs (new insights and inspirations) that are all part of an active inner life.
© Ananda Sangha Worldwide 2013