Watching the latest Star Wars movie with my kids this weekend, I realized that Luke has the makings for a badass Buddhist. And training to be a Jedi is pretty much a practice in mindfulness. These references were always there with Yoda, but now that Luke Skywalker has honed his skills from within it has become crystal clear.
Here are 3 mindfulness techniques Jedi use to build their power that children can use to build their inner FORCE too.
Jedi Look Inward
“May The Force Be With You” is easily one of the most popular movie lines ever. The Force is the power we all have inside of us waiting to be discovered. You can not look to someone else to give it to you but must go deep inside yourself to find it. Practicing mindfulness allows us to slow down and listen to our bodies, thoughts and emotions in order to find this power. Luke needs to turn inward to find the force and save the Resistance. Next time your child is facing a conflict or strong emotion, encourage them to sit on their “rock” (like Luke) and explore their thoughts and feelings. You will need to guide them through the process the first few times. Let them know it is ok to have negative/dark feelings (everyone does). Even Luke has hate and anger inside but chooses to focus on love. Let them know they are safe and that these feelings will pass.
Jedi Stay in the Present
“Remember, concentrate on the moment. Feel, don’t think, use your instincts.” Luke needs to be able to keep himself focused on the present before he can use the force. Practicing mindfulness is all about learning to stay in the present. Children seem to be better at this than adults but even they can use some practice. Next time your child can’t sleep because their mind is racing or they are worrying about something in the future (test, recital, game, etc) have them close their eyes and ask them where they are feeling the worry, aka the Force, flowing inside of their body. Now, ask your children to breathe into the place in their body where they feel the Force. While they take a deep breath, ask them to imagine what the Force actually looks like. What color is it? Once they have the visual, ask them to breathe the Force out.
Jedi Understand and Accept All Their Feelings
“I sense great fear in you, Skywalker. You have hate. You have anger. But you don’t use them.” We need to let kids know that they will have a range of feelings. The key is to pause and acknowledge the dark feelings but not act on them. Sometimes we are so quick to react when we feel angry or upset that we don’t stop to think about why we are truly feeling that way and how can we handle a situation better. When Vader threatens Luke’s sister he immediately lashes out at him out of fear and anger but then Luke pauses before he has gone too far and throws his lightsaber aside. Next time you see your child about to react out of fear or anger give them a verbal reminder “to put down their lightsaber,” or any saying that you discuss ahead of time that will remind them to stop and pause for a minute before they react. Hopefully, someday the little voice in their head will remind them all on their own.
Keep practicing these mindfulness tricks with your child and before you know it your little Padawan will be a Jedi Master. Need some more ways to practice mindfulness with your child? Our January crate, “I Can Quiet My Mind” is full of fun activities and ideas for practicing mindfulness with your child. Make practicing mindfulness a part of your child’s daily routine (and wardrobe) with this soft and adorable tee available in our shop.