Meditation in the writing classroom

There is no exercise that my students have enjoyed more than meditation.  They say they are under a lot of pressure, and to have a few minutes of utter quiet, with the lights low, is refreshing and calming, and gets their minds settled.  They rarely have moments to sit and think unmolested, and some of the molestation comes of their own choice; they have iPods, cell phones, and email going all the time.  So when a subject comes up and they get a chance to think about it for a full five minutes, they make a lot of progress.  Meditation may not be the correct word for this exercise, it may be just quiet thinking.

Exercise: Provide an in-class assignment; it could be a simple description, or a larger question like, “Do you think all young Americans owe their country a year of national service?” or “Where do you see yourself 40 years from now?” You can also have five minutes of pure meditation with no assigned subject.

Turn off the lights in the classroom, and ask all students to close their computers, turn off their cell phones, and get comfortable.  Lead them in an introductory minute or two of breathing and relaxation, then stay quiet for five minutes.

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