• Peace
    Building Community,  Calm,  Evenmindedness

    Changing Directions

    Each Monday morning, the elementary and middle school classes gather together for Inner Joy Circle. It is an experiential gathering that helps build school community and aims to give the children a deeper experience of themselves. The planning is done in the flow learning style and takes into account what is happening in the natural world as well has current events. Today’s current event was the mass shooting in Las Vegas. I noticed that the impact of the tragedy affected my thoughts and those of the parents and staff that I met before Inner Joy Circle. A parent shared with me that it was Gandhi’s birthday and she chose to…

  • thumbs up
    Education for Life,  Energy,  Evenmindedness,  Experiential learning,  Focused Attention,  Teaching Spiritual Principles

    Raising Consciousness with Affirmations

    One of our older students came to me expressing frustration about a difficult situation. Knowing this student and her learning process well, I suggested a positive affirmation. “How about, I am healthy, happy and whole?” “What’s whole?” she asked with a puzzled look. “It sounds like I’m a piece of pie or something”, she added. I laughed and said, “How about, I am healthy and happy?”. She replied, “That works,” and proceeded to say these words to herself and move through resolving the potential negativity of an everyday situation. A kindergarten mama shared a story of her child’s experience while receiving immunizations. She explained how her daughter was calm and…

  • Art,  Evenmindedness,  Holidays

    Art as a Practice in Non-attachment

    Cultures throughout the world, from Tibetan Buddhists to traditional European cultures to Native American cultures, have created temporary pieces of art. The art serves its purpose for a brief time and then is swept away by the ocean, or by the wind, or by a broom. The effort in creating these beautiful pieces allows the creator and observer to practice enjoying what is good and beautiful in the present moment and then let it go when it is time. It is a practical reminder of non-attachment. Sonali Gupta, the intermediate teacher (3-5th grade) here at Living Wisdom in Portland shared a traditional Indian art practice in non-attachment with her students…

  • playdough
    Evenmindedness,  Play,  Teachers

    Evenmindedness and Play

    Helen Gorman is the kindergarten/preschool teacher here at Living Wisdom School in Portland. She is one of the founding teachers of the school and uses a wealth of activities with her students that integrate mind, body and heart. One of her activities that teaches children even-mindedness and non-attachment is the sandtray activity.  There are small trays that hold sand that students can work with, creating little towns and villages; little adventures. When the play is done, it all goes away, the sandtray is cleared and the world they created starts anew. This happens often at recess, too, where play is elaborate and creative. Students of all ages will spend 20…

  • playing tennis
    Body Awareness,  Evenmindedness

    I Am Master of My Body, I Am Master of Myself

    A few days ago, I was talking with a mom of one of my students. She told me the story of how her son was in tennis lessons and he had recently moved up to the next level of difficulty. The day before, when it was time for him to go to tennis lessons, he broke down and started crying, refusing to go. The mom listened to all his fears about playing against older and better players and all his frustrations about not being as good as them. But even after talking about all his feelings, he continued to cry and  was quite worked up about it. Now, anyone who…

  • holding a chick
    Evenmindedness,  Teachers

    Even-minded Teaching

    This entry was written by Eef Gauri Kerremans, who has taught for many years at the Living Wisdom School in Assisi, Italy. She talks about using the practice of non-attachment and even-mindedness as a teacher. Two years ago, I had a 5 year old boy in my preschool class. His energy was very competitive – he always wanted to be the first one and he wanted to be the best at all we did. He learned how to read and write and did math problems at age 5. But he was also very aggressive, jealous, and he cheated during games when he realized he couldn’t win. He would even compete against me…

  • rubber ducks

    Water Off a Duck’s Back

    Toby Nirani Moorhouse, the first grade teacher at Ananda Village Living Wisdom School in the Sierra Mountains of California has a classroom routine that allows students to consciously practice non-attachment. This activity is great for younger elementary students, because it brings in the whole class to celebrate and support the practice of non-attachment. She calls it her Water Off a Duck’s Back activity and shares it here: The image of water rolling off a duck’s feathers is a fun and vivid way to help young children practice letting go of little upsets. I explain to children that ducks have special feathers with oil that makes the water roll off like…

  • boys with rabbit

    Equanimity, Even-mindedness, and Non-attachment

    This is one of the greatest spiritual skills to learn, and one of the most difficult. It is the key to surfing life’s waves with ease and one of thesurest ways to achieve joy. When I first taught this at a Buddhist kids camp (the Buddhists call it Equanimity and it is one of the “four immeasurables”, which are also discussed in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali), we struggled to teach it in a clear way that was not inadvertently teaching Equanimity’s “near enemy” – apathy. How do you distinguish between non-attachment and non-engagement with life itself? I like Yogananda’s name for it, which is Even-mindedness. At Living Wisdom’s kids…