It was Jesse's birthday and I brought his class Rice Krispy treats. They're a raucous group of 25 kids, grades Kindergarten, first and second combined. Jesse is the teacher. After we sugared the kids up, Jesse sat them down and asked them to give me their attention. I was about to teach them to meditate.
Here's what I said: I am going to teach you to do something you have known how to do since you were one second old. It's something every baby knows how to do. I am going to teach you to breathe.
It worked. I had their attention.
I taught them square breathing. With an index finger I swiped the top line of the square and told them to inhale for 5 seconds, then hold it. I drew the next imaginary line in the air and told them to exhale for 5 seconds, then hold. We drew the bottom line and the last line. When they were done I asked if anyone noticed anything. The kid who waves his hand in the air and says Ooh, ooh, ooh waved his hand at me. I called on him and he said: I feel calmer.
I'm thinking about this experience now as I prepare to teach lawyers about meditation at a Continuing Legal Education seminar. If the primary school kids could get it, there's a chance the lawyers might too.