On Monday and Tuesday this week, I had the opportunity to meet with the welcoming students and staff of Heronfield Academy, a small middle school nestled away in Hampton Falls, NH. I joined the staff on Monday afternoon for an hour introduction to the practice and scientific basis for mindfulness. Through a study in Buddhism, many students had already been introduced to meditation. Flanking a round table, the staff talked about how it felt to sit with an attention anchor, like sound or our breath, for short periods of time. We also explored the usefulness of offering these practices to the students. As a former middle school teacher, I have witnessed the importance of giving this age group tools to stay present for their lives.
On Tuesday morning, I led a twenty minute community meeting in which the 83 students, staff, and I explored the experience of sitting with an anchor. A couple of brave students admitted they felt weird, and many noted they felt calm. One teacher how she noticed she was congratulating herself on doing a "good job" when she was able to follow her breath.
I am always awed by a room full of people sitting in silence. Even in one minute you can feel the energy of the room shift. It was a beautiful quiet that morning on the farm. I am so grateful to have shared the space with these young people and the staff that nurture them.