By Nitai Deranja
The Dalai Lama has said: “If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”. We can marvel at the simplicity of his statement which if realized would take its place alongside Einstein’s E = mc2, but we can also use it as a model for addressing other world problems. What if there were an equally elegant solution to the challenges of wealth distribution, racial and religious prejudice, or even global warming?
It will help if we first ask ourselves: “What is it about meditation that could be a remedy for humanity’s tendency toward violence?” It is a question that is best answered through personal experience. Anyone who has taken the time to calm their thoughts and emotions to the point where they become aware of the peace that exists within themselves, can testify to the fact that it dissolves the tensions and frustrations that accumulate in daily life. If a child is helped to experience this inner peace on a regular basis, the underlying disharmonies that provoke violent outbursts will lose their potency.
Are there similar experiences that might affect other areas of global inharmony? What if children were encouraged to especially appreciate the parts of their lives which produce feelings of well-being and joy? This practice of contentment, if carried into adulthood, would provide a counterbalance to the greed that produces the economic imbalances on our planet. And what if children are encouraged to celebrate the diverse talents and interests of their classmates? Those feelings will prepare them to embrace the racial, religious, and even political differences they will encounter in later life. Finally, if children are provided with activities that evoke a sense of communion with nature, as adults they will carry a sensitivity that will help to solve the challenges of global warming.
It will take awhile before every child is exposed to meditation and the other experiences discussed above. But why not take steps to reach as many children as possible? If teachers, parents and other adults make the decision to prioritize these activities, progress is ensured, one child at a time.