- About Us
- What We Offer
- Podcasts & Video
Submitted by Meredith Arena on Wed, 2/1/2012, 9:51am
My thoughts are uglier than your thoughts. What is a thought? Why can’t I catch thoughts? What are thoughts made of? Why can’t I answer this question?
Today I asked my 8 and 9-year-old students where their thoughts came from? Here are the answers I received: Your brain, your 5 senses, your mind, your eyes, and your skull. When I asked what thoughts were made of, they were all stumped. “I don’t know either,” I said.
For today’s mindfulness session with the children, I used imagery of sand settling in a fish tank and clouds floating in the sky. We did a long lying down mindfulness session – ten minutes. Each of our meditation sessions has some variations on the following: Hand tapping, body wiggling, rolling, poking, giggling, quiet singing to self, mumbling, fake snoring intercepted by magical moments of quiet. It’s quite fun and it reminds me how hard it is to relax.
After the ten minutes, they sat up, some rubbing their sleepy eyes, others thrilled to be back in talk land. I asked them to talk about how their thoughts came to them. They like to embellish a bit, but this time their embellishments were focused. One student told us very clearly that her thoughts were like fish crashing into rocks, one students said her thoughts went “pop”, one student told a long story about fish eating other fish, (thoughts eating other thoughts?). They mentioned thoughts that explode, thoughts that float, thoughts that multiply, but they didn’t mention any actual thoughts. Often when I teach, my students teach me how I should be teaching. I think I learn more than they do. My students had a hard time speaking directly about their thoughts and so do I. It is hard to catch a thought.
As I exited the L train at First Avenue, I noticed my own thoughts and assumptions about other people popping. I noticed how ugly I believed some of these thoughts were. I noticed how agitated I felt. The angry thought fish were colliding against sold belief rocks in turbulent discursive waters. I thank my students for this expanded metaphor about thinking.
Vote for this article to appear in the Recommended list.