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Our books teach about mind, not mindfulness. What does that mean?

Updated: Feb 27, 2021

It means the books don't teach children to replace negative feelings by positive ones, instead they give children the tools to check for themselves that they are still ok even in the middle of stormy feelings. Children are not invited to drum up calm feelings instead of stormy feelings! Most kids would be enraged by that! They are invited to relax and see what is really going on.

As an educator, I see again and again that children want to know they are perfect as they are and that it is safe to feel the whole range of emotions. They don't want to be told 'don't be sad!' or to be given a bandaid for their emotional pain. They want to be reassured all is well, even when they feel the ups and downs of human experience.

A little girl in my care who is usually so happy to come and play for the day, suddenly had stormy feelings at drop off one day. She cried and said how much she wants to be with her mummy. She wasn’t interested in being distracted by replacing the stormy feelings with positive feelings, like looking for the cat in the garden for example which she usually adores.

All she wanted was to be allowed to be sad, to be understood and to be reassured it is ok to be sad. She wanted to check for herself is she still ok even in the middle of sadness? Is it ok to feel this great missing of our mother? I said gentle reassuring words, confirming I understand she 'really wants to be with mummy today', she 'wishes mummy could be here with her', she 'misses mummy', she 'misses mummy and loves her as big as space!' She nodded at every simple sentence.

The stormy feelings passed, and her smile right after they vanished, was the happiest smile I've ever seen.

A smile filled with wisdom and knowing. Knowing that 'wow! I have resilience built inside of me, at the core of my own being, there is a stability that will see me through everything!' 'I am still ok, even when it feels wrong.' 'The stormy feelings go away and I know that to relax is my super power!' ‘When I miss my mom, it is actually fine, it is actually love I am feeling’ She kept on saying 'I'm happy now! I'm happy!'

I am so happy and grateful that we had the tools to navigate what could have been triggering a deep fear of abandonment with such grace and empowerment.

Later that day, the little girl started playing a pretend play game with a family of playdough snails. The baby snail said goodbye to the mummy snail and was sad, she relaxed and was all fine! She went to play with her friends. Later the mummy picked her up and they were so happy to meet again! The girl played all the characters in the scenario and I could see her gently continuing her processing of her stormy feelings. When other children in my care cry, this little girl is now the first to reassure them all is well. To see such results of resilience and wellbeing warms my heart.

As an educator, to be able to support a child to relax in the face of sadness and missing, first of all, I need to know these emotions in myself deeply. When I relax in mind, I see the great missing is my immense love for the one I miss. I see it is not a lack or a void that I am feeling, it is a fullness of love itself, a fullness of relationship with the one I am missing.

When as an adult, we relax in mind, we create a peace zone in which others are also invited to relax as they are too. It is a place of empowerment! and of discovery.... By relaxing in mind, as vast as the sky, I extract the power of the stormy feelings!

Like it says in 'Where is Mind?':

'Our thoughts and stormy feelings

are like a flash of lightning in the sky

quickly disappearing on their own.

Like lightning, mind is filled with light

and powerful energy'

Written by Candice Rinpoche, Dzogchen Lineage Successor, our Dzogchen books for kids teach children to find mind and to relax in mind, using precise and ancient metaphors and instructions. When we know ourselves as mind, we know the unending source of our own stability and wellbeing. By relaxing in mind, children can let stormy feelings flow on by and act with wisdom and compassion!

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