Noah Ma-yo Sensei
I’ve been developing a daily routine with my kids as I strive to teach them mindfulness and Buddhist principles. In the past several weeks we’ve been focusing on meditation and learning to sit quietly before going to bed. My 3-year-old can now sit for 60 seconds at a time and she’s so proud of herself when she accomplishes that. My 6-year-old averages 5 minutes at a time but twice this week he’s lasted a full 10 minutes of sitting silently in meditation. It’s been fun to spend time sitting with them and meditating every night. We’ve found that it calms them down too so that’s a big plus for getting ready for bed! Aside from just meditating, we generally spend time reading stories from a children’s book called “Buddha at bedtime” and it has several fun stories that have a moral of the story at the end. My kids really enjoy those stories too. All in all, I really enjoy this time with my kids but this week something happened that really made me happy and quite emotional…
One evening after meditating, my 6-year old son Rajko and I were talking and I asked him to pick up his pillow (he has a favorite pillow and blanket that he can’t sleep without). We looked at the pillow and I said: “I want to teach you something…did you know that everything connects us to other things?” What ensued was a very long conversation where we talked about the entire process of how his pillow was made and how it got here to this specific moment, sitting on his bed. We talked about the seamstress who sewed the fabric, the workers who helped stuff the pillow, the factory where the cotton came from, the pilot who flew the airplane full of pillows, the truck driver who delivered the pillow to the store, the person at the store who sold us the pillow and so on. We discussed each part of the trip in detail and we imagined who these people were and what they were like. Before long, we had about 10 people in mind that we’re all intimately connected to the process of Rajko having his pillow. It was incredible to see how his eyes lit up as he imagined this whole process. By the end of the conversation, he picked up his pillow and just hugged it and said “I love this pillow because it connects me to so many people I never knew” I say the genuine emotion in his expression as he embraced the pillow and it literally made me start to cry. I knew he would never see that pillow the same way again. I knew he had learned a powerful lesson and I hope he can re-learn this over and over in life as he interacts with all the other things he owns. Later that night, I spent some time looking at several of my own favorite possessions and I imagined all the hands and processes that connected me to these things I have. It was a really powerful reminder to me that everything connects me to other things and other people.
Noah Ma-yo Sensei is a Lay Minister with Bright Dawn Way of Oneness Sangha. For information about Bright Dawn and the Lay Ministry program please visit our website.