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Spiritual discipline for children

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Viswamitra, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Editor's Note: Dear Viswamitra, congratulations! Your post has been selected as the best of forums. IL'ites, do have a read at some very interesting pointers that Viswamitra has shared with us about how to spiritually disciplining our children. For viewership by a larger audience, I have it as a content feature here.

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    I was asked to speak to the children (age group 14-17) about spiritual discipline and why it is important a few years back. A young girl stood up and asked me a question that triggered a lot of thoughts. She asked, “Am I not too young to think of spiritual growth and development? When I have duties to educate myself, how can I focus on spiritual growth and development?” She made an excellent beginning with that question as otherwise the whole talk would have become a classroom type session with me talking and the children listening throughout the session. It became totally interactive after that question.

    I answered her question with another question, “What does spiritual discipline mean?” Many children thought it is praying every day, chanting Slokas, reading moral stories, etc. When I explained to them that God does not expect them to worship but definitely practice the teachings that are available in scriptures. Praying to the Lord is creating a will power in our subconscious mind to be determined to work towards what we pray for. Praying alone will not help unless we make a sincere effort to achieve what we pray for. Similarly chanting Slokas alone will not help unless we understand the meaning of what is being chanted. Reading moral stories is good but whatever we learn out of it should be practiced in real life.

    I have specifically explained to him that dividing our real life from spiritual life is incorrect. Spiritual life is no different than our regular life. For example, learning to be truthful in life is one of the spiritual disciplines. Talking less and sweetly to others without hurting their feeling is a spiritual discipline. Learning to share and care for other beings around us is another spiritual discipline. From a very young age, the children should engage in providing service to the people in need whether they are elders, children, poor or sick. Treating every fellow being with respect irrespective of their social status is another spiritual discipline. Introspection of our day to day actions and learning our mistakes is also very important. Regretting our mistakes and apologizing to fellow beings is part of the healing process. Disciplining our mind to delve on good thoughts and eliminating bad thoughts is another important spiritual discipline.

    I have explained to the children that irrespective of the end result, the processes that are followed in their actions are very important. Every action they do should be done skillfully to the best of their ability, with great commitment and devotion to such action i.e. love for that action, and selflessly as a service. At this point of time, another girl asked, “If I educated myself, will it not automatically be for my selfish benefit?” I asked them to think that their parents are sacrificing a lot to educate them well and they are reciprocating the love by meeting their expectation. When they grow up further, their education not only helps them to make a living but also to take care of their families. At some point of time, they need to think about people in need and help them achieve some of their goals. I explained every person’s spiritual discipline helps other fellow beings. Education must instill the fundamental human values; it must broaden the vision to include the welfare of the entire world. Education must equip everyone to live happily without making others unhappy, to evaluate everything correctly and without prejudice, and to keep one's attention fixed ever on the most precious and the highest achievement of all, self-realization. Self realization is always assumed as a difficult task at a distance immeasurable. The spiritual disciplines help remove the husk (Karma) that covers the paddy (Consciousness) and understand the true nature of us. It slowly eliminates our belief that we are the body and mind. The spiritual stream must flow from the heart as the source and spring of all endeavors.

    At the conclusion, I have requested them to synchronize their thoughts, words and actions, analyze their actions regularly to avoid repeating the mistakes, do everything skillfully, lovingly and selflessly with no expectation of results and make sure that their mind is simple and disciplined. In every action, the intention is very important. Actually those who fill their life with truth, righteousness, love, peace and non-violence gets the blessings of the Lord whether they worship Him or not.
     
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  2. shyamala1234

    shyamala1234 Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Viswamitra,

    A good one.

    Yes, spirituality is a way of life and not a separate compartment in brain. We teach children cultivate good habits from childhood (like brushing, keeping things clean, study well etc etc). In the same way making them say a small prayer or a sloka a day is a good beginning. Later when they are in a position to understand we can explain to them what it means. Then we can involve them in small acts of charities along with us and just see how happy they feel! Once they are introduced to this kind of happiness helping others, not lying or stealing......they would want that happiness again and again and it would become a habit for them. A good foundation and base has been formed.
    In India we cannot change the education system, not in our hands but we can teach these things to our kids at home. If every parent does this next generation would definitely wonderful!

    Syamala
     
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  3. Mindian

    Mindian IL Hall of Fame

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    Beautiful, Viswa Sir.
    I will soon be leaving my daughter and going back to India. These days I can think of nothing except whether I have done my best for her in terms of imparting values.I will just forward this thread of yours to her as it makes my work easy :)

    I wish to just add one thing here

    In every action, the intention is very important.

    This is very true when we do the action ourselves, but in others let us not bother about the intent . just appreciate if someone does any good and not attribute any selfish reasons to it.

    ( I know it is not in context here but we just had that discussion yesterday and it is in the top of my mind :))
     
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  4. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Syamala,

    Thank you for your first response to this post. You are right about not taxing too much children at the age group below 13. Let them learn at their own pace with some disciplines introduced by the parents at their young age.This group I spoke to was between 14-17 and they were ready to learn more. If they learn a little bit more about spiritual discipline at that age, it remains with them for life. The higher education builds self confidence but also increases one's ego. Serving the elders, children and poor helps those children to realize that they have to be grateful for what they have in life and in a way it blunts their ego.

    Moral education classes we had earlier in our generation doesn't exist anymore. Moral education will have to be through parents or other special classes and spiritual practices. Children's heart has natural love for fellow beings and when it is directed towards people in need, the light in their heart shines with added luster.

    Viswa
     
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  5. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Mindian,

    Wow! What an accreditation I got for my snippet. You are such a successful mother and for you to consider sending this to your daughter is very fulfilling to me. I have no doubts in my mind that your daughter might use it only for validation and she in her own rights is a wonderful young woman already with the guidance from you and your husband.

    I agree with you that the intention check is only for our own actions. If someone were to blame us for the outcome of our action, we need to only review our intention and as long as it is good, we have nothing to worry about. My philosophy is to take criticism from others as a chance to correct myself while appreciate the positive actions of others with gratitude. Their negative intention or action is for them to fix.

    Viswa

    Viswa
     
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  6. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Viswamitra,

    It is really interesting to hear about the child's doubt. It echoes common belief that all spirituality is meant for the retired years, for old age. What one does not understand is that the opportunity grow spiritually through experiences is greatest when one is young - one has so much to learn from life's experiences. Contrast that with old age. Who knows if one's physical or mental faculties will be in a state to cooperate in the process? I am seeing people in their 50s struck by mental illnesses. They seem to have missed the boat. On the other hand, I see elderly people with degenerative mental illnesses who still sing bhajans. That is the effect of what they learned in their young age. That is what has stayed with them.

    On the other hand, consider elderly people who are physically as well as mentally fit. How much time do they have to learn, experience and observe life and grow?
     
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  7. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Satchi,

    Thank you for your response to this post. The children are mirror image of what their parents think until they grow up to think on their own. You are absolutely right. Spiritual growth and development is a life long process and it is not something that is a retirement plan. The proverb says, "ayindhil valayadadu ayimbadhil valayuma?" meaning what can't bend in five can't bend in fifty. The spiritual disciplines that are introduced in the development stage of the brain has significant impact in the life of an individual. We always talk about pleasant memories in the young age last forever. Similarly the suffering in the young ages has negative impact in future. Therefore, it is important to inculcate spiritual disciplines at a very young age. If the foundation of spiritual disciplines is created at young age, it helps people to develop it nicely throughout their life.

    Viswa
     
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  8. anukarsha

    anukarsha Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Bro Viswa :)

    What a beautiful post from you about Spirituality. I simply loved it. And, I loved all the conversation in the thread. keep this thread alive by posting such great thoughts. Thanks for sharing with us.
     
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  9. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sis Anu,

    Thank you for visiting this post and reading all responses. I am truly humbled and honored by your kind words. Your appreciation and encouragement means a lot to me. But nothing can be equal to the thread you started and we all joined. Unfortunately, we lost that thread. I noticed one of your thread was visited by Vijiakka recently and I am planning to visit that thread and learn out of it. I always look forward to interacting with you.

    Viswa
     
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  10. anukarsha

    anukarsha Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Bro Viswa :)

    It feels so nice to interact with you after a long time. Bro, just keep yourself in my place, and read this post of yours thinking that I've written these words. My feelings are ditto for you. I also always look forward to interact with you, and feel honored when you and/or any friend from IL writes something in response.

    I must tell you that it's so kind of you to write praises about my thread; but, truly, there is nothing like that. It was surely a great platform to learn, and we all learned a lot. We are still learning. Let us keep that flame alive and connect on as many spiritual threads as we can. BTW, thanks for your kind words. :bowdown

    Viji mom is, and has been a great motivator for all new comers in IL. Her words of appreciation mean a lot to me. Please do visit my thread, and write your feedback. I truly wait for your response, bro! :)
     
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