Editor’s Note: Let us take some time out of our busy schedules to teach the little ones about having the faith and in believing in the Lord. Our member, Viswamitra tells us more about children and spiritually disciplining them. Do share your thoughts with us here.
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.
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.
- Treating every fellow being with respect irrespective of their social status 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.
Introspection of our day to day actions and learning our mistakes is also very important.
Regretting our mistakes and apologising 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, realisation. Self realisation 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 endeavours.
At the conclusion, I have requested them to synchronise their thoughts, words and actions, analyse their actions regularly to avoid repeating the mistakes, do everything skilfully, 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.