How an NYU Author is Bringing Meditation Into Classrooms

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How an NYU Author is Bringing Meditation Into Classrooms

– It’s terrifying to close your eyes in
front of twenty five 16 year-olds and to trust that they will close their eyes as well. I thought, “Whoa there is something
really powerful here.” (peaceful, driving music) – My name is Bill Meyer. I’m a
doctoral student here at NYU Steinhardt and I’m also the author of Three Breaths and Begin,
which is a manual for teachers interested in introducing meditation to the
classroom—and even more recently the author of Big Breath, which is a guided
meditation for kids. Taking the language in Three Breaths and
translating that into a language that was accessible for children. There’s a lot more layers to adults.
It takes a little longer for them to drop into a meditation. With students I find
they’re willing to go almost anywhere if they trust you and you’ve created a safe
space. I always start with the breath then I move into the body and then the
last piece of the meditation is a visual component and it can often allow them to
surface unconscious aspects of themselves that they might
not be able to verbalize. I see my own work as reframing and recasting
meditation as part of something much bigger. One of the pieces that has come
out of my research is this idea of a contemplative core in
response to the common core. Principles that develop the whole student
not just the mind but consider the wellness of a student, consider
service within the life of a student, consider identity formation.
And what I would love to see is not just my writing and this research grow,
but also connecting this and bringing this into classrooms in a much larger scale
across the country and even across the world. There is a lot of evidence that shows that
meditation helps kids focus better. But I think that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Once you get that focus,
that’s where we begin. And then going through that doorway and
really exploring content and issues of meaning, and the self, and identity—
it can be so, so powerful. (music peaks and fades)

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