Target: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Goal: Require that meditation is taught in all public schools.
The Dalai Lama once said, “If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” In this day and age, humanity tends toward consumer culture. This places a high value on doing, doing, doing: in order to get the things, status symbols, and security, we are taught we need. In this state of maximum activity, the mind is generally in a constant state of activity. This produces all sorts of neurotic tendencies in people. The tendency generally promotes more scattered mental processes.
As much as mental activity is a necessary part of life, meditation counterbalances mental activity. It trains the individual to develop the mental faculty of one-pointed concentration (which, incidentally, is useful in one’s daily activities as well). When one is engaged in one-pointed concentration, one begins to be exposed to states of consciousness that are devoid of mental activity. Without nurturing this balance, health suffers.
Training oneself to enjoy states beyond thought tends to make people more focused, more compassionate, more contented, and less self-centered. I don’t know if meditation alone would really end violence, even if everyone practiced it, but there would certainly be a change for the better. Tell Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to require meditation be taught in all public schools.
Dear Secretary Duncan,
I am writing today to urge you to advocate the adoption of meditation classes in all public schools, nationwide. The Dalai Lama famously believes that all violence could be eliminated from the world in a generation if all eight-year-olds were taught to meditate. This statement might be a little on the optimistic side, but it definitely contains a certain kernel of truth.
Meditators universally report that meditation increases focus, compassion, contentment, and decreases tendencies toward self-centeredness. Meditation teaches a mental faculty that isn’t necessarily prized in our culture, but it is one that is absolutely vital in cultivating balance, and therefore promoting mental health, especially in today’s active, competitive, and results-driven climate.
Children are always taught to grasp at desired outcomes and to grapple with problems of ever-increasing complexity. But if we neglect to encourage the habit of exercising the mind’s capacity to let go, we are doing both the individual and society a great disservice. The mind is the best place for carrying out certain kinds of work, but it is a terrible place to live permanently. Meditation trains one to vacate the mind and rest at deeper levels of their own being from time to time. This is absolutely vital for avoiding all sorts of neuroses.
Again, I urge you to do all that you can to ensure that all members of our society are taught, as children, to meditate, given opportunities to practice meditation, and are taught why meditation is a worthwhile habit to cultivate.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Lisa Davis