More meditation in the writing classroom

Here is another way of using meditation in the writing classroom.  Yesterday’s meditation was useful in that it provides students a break, gives them an extra tool, and allows them to access deeper levels of thinking.  Today’s exercise teaches them something else — everyone’s mind works differently.  It is common but unreasonable to imagine that “everybody” thinks a certain way.  This exercise proves that fact.

This is a counter-linguistic exercise in that it involves no language at all until the period when you all review what you have imagined.  It is a good opportunity to question where ideas come from, how creativity works, and what our “minds” are.

Exercise: Ask students to close their eyes.  Ask them to breathe comfortably in and out, and then instruct them to relax their feet, ankles, knees, hips, stomach, throat, eyes, etc.  Then guide them in a meditation.  It has as many permutations as there are people, but I often use this one, introducing each new element slowly, giving them time to develop their imagined experience:  Imagine you are walking along (are you alone? with someone) and you come upon a gate in a fence. Walk through the gate (alone? with someone), and across a wide field.  You come to a body of water, where you stay for a while.  Now turn around and come back to where you started.

This part of the exercise should take 5-10 minutes, leaving plenty of time between each instruction.

After it is over, ask the students what their fence/field/body of water, etc. looked like, and what they did while they were walking. Did they pick flowers? Go swimming in the water? Lock the gate?  It is amazing how varied the imagined experiences are, and how differently each person’s mind works.  You can also review the fact that while imagining the experience, it was not necessary to use language. The imagined experience happened on another level.

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