Heartfulness Practice

anthony intraversato 5WYkd62XxTo unsplashWhen I asked the 4th through 8th grade class about the culture that they want to create in their class, one student responded that they want it to be welcoming to everyone. Is it? I asked the students to imagine what it might feel like to walk into the class if you are new, from a different culture, with a different communication or learning style. 

We had a similar conversation at the Board and Coordinating Council meeting this month: can we be aware of our own culture in order to be more welcoming and inclusive? There are subtle practices that I am trying to keep in mind - like leaving more wait time for people who think before blurting things out. According the Jen Mattias, cultural humility is an attitude or approach which calls you to be willing to suspend what you think you know about a person and to be open to learning from other people directly about their personal culture. Can we all learn to exercise cultural humility and compassion in our groups and communities?

Compassion is like a muscle -- it develops more the more you work it. As parents, caregivers, educators, and mentors, we can help young people develop compassion by modeling it, noticing it, and practicing it. Over the past month, the K-3 and 4th-8th grade students have been practicing “heartfulness” as their mindfulness ritual. Heartfulness is also known as Metta practice in Pali or loving-kindness meditation and is one way to teach compassion. It involves sending messages of kindness to yourself, loved ones, strangers, and all beings everywhere. It can help to build understanding and compassion for others - no matter who they are. Here is an example of a heartfulness meditation to use with your kids (or yourself!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9X6tkUXa9o.