Class Relax

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The Sock Meditation

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Pre-amble: I teach “Safat Hakeshev” (The Language of Attentiveness) to grade 8 students. This I’ve mentioned. I might also have mentioned that these workshops last one whole semester and then the pupils switch. This semester ends on January 28th. I thought, ‘cool’, a whole new bunch of kids to meet and work with!

However, I’ve been informed by my pupils that they’d like to continue on with me for the next semester.  And due to the fact that they’re concerned that there won’t be room for them, they’ve taken steps to discourage others from registering. They’re manipulating registration to encourage only a few select others to sign on, while the rest are being sent packing.

This is very interesting for many reasons. First, they’re totally uninterested in the official stance of whether or not they’re allowed to carry on with the same workshop.  Second, there’s the undeniable fact that they want to carry on! Thirdly, here we see a use of the forces of mindfulness to arrange reality. (Isn’t this similar to commercial pitches of “Become mindful! Be more productive! Earn more money!…etc)

Are there any sociologists reading this?f If so, please feel free to comment!

Now, to the matter at hand! The sock meditation.

It goes like this: A bag of odd socks is emptied into the middle of the sitting circle. The instructions are to choose 2 socks and create an exercise of one minute in length.

sock-pile

I demonstrated one such exercise – choosing two socks and tying them together as slowly as possible, mundane perhaps,  but enough to give them an idea.

Time was given for them to think and experiment.

When they were ready, one chose to go first. I told them that our task was to watch in silence for that minute.

J set a timer and I gave the Go signal!

Pupil 1 : M kept her own socks on her feet and did a foot dance to a steady beat for one full minute, till the timer went off.

We each gave our responses

  • ‘Relaxing’

  • ‘Okay’

  • ‘Nice’

Pupil 2: J took the two socks and wound them around each other and then unwound. He played with the rhythm and speed and we simply watched. When the timer went off, we each gave our responses.

  • ‘Could put me to sleep’

  • ‘Boring’

  • ‘Hypnotizing’

Pupil 3: R took his two socks, started folding them in an origami kind of way. He inserted one pink one into the green one and continued to manipulate till by the time the buzzer sounded, he had a Turtle!

  • ‘Wow’

  • ‘Made me curious to watch’

  • ‘Very cool!’

Pupil 4: He decided to use his own 2 socks and took them off, played with them, then put them back on. It looked like there was potential for more, but he kept it simple

  • ‘Hypnotizing’

  • ‘Okay’

Pupil 5: He dressed his arms in the stretchy black tights, tied them together and did a circular dance with the white wall as his backdrop. Then he switched to 3 other variations of sock-use.

  • ‘Beautiful black circle dance’

  • ‘Interesting’

Me: (disclaimer: I’m a puppeteer) I put the socks on my hands, squished in the area between upper hand and thumb to create a mouth and performed a simple, silent puppet show including conversation, conflict and resolution.

  • ‘Made me curious’

  • ‘cool!’

And we began the period for sharing. How was that for you? I asked.

Interesting.”

How could you use this exercise? I questioned.

to work our imaginations

to relax

to concentrate

My conclusions: I liked this exercise. I liked that they watched in silence in support of the one sharing their exercise. I liked that they were all so different in their approaches. I liked that it allowed for all kinds of interpretations and that there were minimal rules.

Next time, I would like to deepen the exercise. For step two, I’d ask the kids to do a second round in order to further deepen their creativity. Perhaps change speed, rhythm, position or even try someone else’s exercise.

I believe that doing an exercise once is great – Beginner’s Mind allows for the feeling of getting one’s toes wet in new waters. Some kids jump in, others are hesitant. Doing it again allows for greater bravery. They know that they survived and that they can be more fearless in experimenting. 

Next: We’re also going further into a Sound exercise. This class loves to experiment with auditory attention. The Tibetan Singing Bowl is a beloved tool.  I would like to deepen their study of listening. Next week I’ll try a variation. Stay tuned.

sitting_circle

sitting circle (mindful kids)

Thanks for reading.

Please feel free to comment!

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