Getting in the mindset

Today, we had a visit from Denise and Lindsay from the Center for Mindful Learning. We are going to experiment how to bring mindfulness to students for whom English is still quite new.

Mind the Music is a mindfulness training program for teens that uses popular music as the object of concentration. It provides clear and simple techniques for cultivating concentration, clarity and equanimity.

(You can find out more about the approach at the link above. And there are some videos here of students from the King Street Center who did this work a few years ago.)

But before Lindsay led us in a relaxation exercise, we had to do some work. We had to learn the parts of the body in English and also talk a little about things we feel: Happy, sad, hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, angry, sick… There are more. And these aren’t all moods. But we are talking about beginners. This is enough to get by…

We tensed and relaxed muscles. We moved different parts of our body in isolation to the beat of Pharrel William’s song Happy.

Lindsay wanted students to volunteer songs they knew. But that will be for a different day. We need to prepare them for that. This is not the group that you look for spontaneous output. We have to prepare.

In the end, we don’t know if our students really understood what we were doing or why. But it’s a start.  Everybody participated. But we didn’t introduce the vocabulary that goes with the meditative aspect of the work. Which we might. It’s all that preparing stuff.

The grant allows for us to have Lindsay come by throughout the year and for us to take a class so we can teach others. We think it will be well worth the time.


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