Kids User Guide to a Human Life

a book series offering 9 to 12 year-olds fun, practical information on how to live a life with less stress and more joy

June 27, 2016
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Mindful Monday :: Practicing With Strong Emotions

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Once Like, Dislike or Indifference has turned into Attachment, Resistance or Indifference, strong emotions naturally follow.

What normally happens is a Resistance to emotion, most times expressed through a story in your Chattering Mind about not wanting that experience and emotion to happen.

This Resistance in the Chattering Mind then creates a whole physiological change in your body, reinforcing your Resistance.

And this physiological change, in turn, continues to reinforce your Chattering Mind’s story making you feel like you are a small, separate self.

When you are unaware, you are caught in this unconscious looping, which only exacerbates your strong emotion.

Inquiring into and really feeling your feelings and emotions from your Open Mind, instead of unconsciously reacting from your Chattering Mind’s story, begins to build the skill of bravely attending to all that you experience.

In bravely attending to your experience you are able to respond wisely to your own emotional life.

You will see that all feelings are valid and are a natural part of this human life.

Practice :: When you notice a strong feeling, begin by first dropping your Inner Attention’s attachment to your Chattering Mind’s story about your emotion.

Then shift your Inner Attention to the experience of feeling the way the feeling moves through your body.

Simply practice feeling your feelings in your body without getting caught in your story about the feelings.

Let your Breath Awareness, Body Awareness and Awareness of Silence be anchors for your Inner Attention in the Present Moment.

When the emotion passes, take note of how your Open Mind and Open Heart are still here.

The emotion moved through and you are even more present and grounded because of your courage to open fully.

Note: Sometimes big emotions are just too big to feel alone. It’s important when you are feeling overwhelmed by emotion to reach out and seek the support of your parent, teacher, a trusted friend or a counselor.

June 5, 2016
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Mindful Monday :: Practicing with Attachment and Resistance

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Seeing your Chattering Mind—how it Attaches continually to pleasure and Resists what it considers challenging—takes a lot of courage.

Sometimes monumental courage.

Because what you are really doing is opening bravely and fully to this always flowing, shifting, mysterious and oftentimes difficult life.

And in doing this, you must bravely open to what follows Like, Dislike and Indifference—all of your Attachment and Resistance and the emotions and sensations that follow.

This means, Brave Adventurer, that you must fully open to what you consider pleasant, as well as unpleasant, without getting lost in either.

Practice :: When you notice that your Chattering Mind is Attaching or Resisting, name the feeling, drop your Inner Attention out of the Chattering Mind’s story and open fully to the feelings in your body.

Opening fully simply means, as much as you are able to in the moment, from your Inner Attention feel the experience of Attachment or Resistance in your body without getting swept into your Chattering Mind’s story about it.

Use your Breath Awareness, Body Awareness and Awareness of Silence as anchors for your Inner Attention.

Anchoring your Inner Attention in this way will help you stay out of the story and in the Present Moment.

Pay attention to how the sensations of Attachment and Resistance arise and eventually pass through you. What is left?

With practice, you’ll notice you were able to bravely open, without unconsciously getting swept out of your Open Mind and Open Heart!

May 16, 2016
by kidsuserguide
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Mindful Monday :: A practice for working with feelings and emotions

CH5IMG1It can be very challenging at first to open to your feelings and emotions as they are happening.

The habit of getting swept into the Chattering Mind’s story and physical sensations is strong in all Adventurers.

So, a good place to start is to pay attention to where emotions begin—the feelings of Like, Dislike and Indifference.

Consciously beginning to see clearly and name Like, Dislike and Indifference when they arise and the emotions that naturally follow will help you to step out of the Chattering Mind’s closed system of reactions and suspend the stress response.

This creates some space around your feelings and emotions.

And this space begins to bring you back to your Open Mind and remind you of the fluid, dynamic Adventurer you truly are.

Practice :: As you move through your day, notice and name when you Like, Dislike or are Indifferent to an object, situation, experience or person.

Seeing and naming your Likes, Dislikes and Indifference begins to return your awareness to your Open Mind and the Present Moment, moving you out of the closed system of the Chattering Mind.

Consciously note the strong pull to get caught up in what follows Like, Dislike and Indifference—Attachment and Resistance.

At the same time notice how noticing brings you into a conscious relationship with your experience!

Allow this conscious relationship to move you back into your Open Mind and Open Heart.

Let your Breath Awareness, Body Awareness and Awareness of Silence be anchors for you in the Present Moment.

May 9, 2016
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Mindful Monday :: Your Heart As Home

CH1IMG1As you use your Open Mind to bravely open to the flow of life, you will begin to deeply trust your ability to experience and feel ALL this adventurous life has to offer.

And you, brave Adventurer, can open wisely to all that your Chattering Mind spins and your always fluctuating feelings and emotions.

Through fully opening, you’ll come to know and bravely live from your compassion, kindnessjoy and wise responsiveness.

And this may be the biggest adventure of your human life—to wake up your Open Mind and know your Open Heart as home.

May 2, 2016
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Mindful Monday :: Wise Responsiveness

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and in going with the flow, you awaken the natural qualities of acceptance and wise responsiveness.

With an Open Mind, you can begin to accept what the flow of life brings your way week to week, day to day and moment to moment.

From your Open Mind and Heart, you have the ability to work wisely and skillfully with what is unfolding.

You know from experience that when things are going terribly wrong, when your day is a mess from the very beginning, you aren’t failing in some way.

Life is sometimes like this.

Sometimes good experiences, sometimes bad.

Sometimes happy, sometimes sad.

Sometimes peace, sometimes frustration.

From your Open Mind and Open Heart, you can bravely accept what is here today and begin to respond wisely instead of unconsciously reacting from your Chattering Mind.

April 25, 2016
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Mindful Monday :: Joy

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When you are courageously opening to the flow of life, you are naturally more joyful.

Think back to the example of the tendency to Check Out during your chores and how this dulls your experience of life.

When you wake up your senses to the warmth of the dishwater on your hands or the largeness of the night sky as you take the garbage out, a natural joy and aliveness awakens in you.

You are intimately connected to the cosmos, the earth and this intelligent life flowing through everyone.

Opening to this connection allows you to relax and go more confidently with the flow.

Joyfully, you understand that you are so much more than your small, repetitive Chattering Mind.

You see clearly the intelligent and interconnected flow of life that moves the planets and stars, shifts winter into spring and flawlessly moves you from being a baby to a toddler to a teen.

From your Open Mind you can acknowledge and joyfully feel the mystery and the goodness of your human life unfolding moment by moment.

April 11, 2016
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Mindful Monday :: Kindness

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Opening bravely to the flow of life wakes up your natural kindness.

Remember the example of sharing your favorite outfit with your sister?

When you met Like with your Open Mind, you were able to open to your kindness and generosity.

You may not have shared your favorite outfit, but in your kindness you were able to help support your sister.

You see how deeply connected we are to one another.

Not only do we share the same air, water and planet with every being, but the life that flows through you flows through every life form on the planet.

Shaking off your own small Chattering Mind and seeing the largeness of your interconnectedness reveals that being kind to everyone you meet is the only thing that really makes sense.

This kindness spills over into how you see the stories of your own Chattering Mind.

The worry, the judgment, the fear all come from the Chattering Mind’s sense of being small and disconnected.

You are kinder to yourself when you recognize you are lost in your Attachment and Resistance.

You remember this small self isn’t the whole story.

Remembering and feeling your connectedness with all of life creates a space for kindness towards your own limiting stories for what they are—just stories.

April 4, 2016
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Mindful Monday :: Compassion

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Opening fully to the flow of life naturally awakens your compassion.

Think back to the example of breaking your arm.

When you were unconsciously caught up in Dislike and Resistance to your broken arm, this led to feelings of fear, anger and anxiety.

However, when you were able to courageously open to your situation and discomfort, you created the space for your natural compassion to arise towards yourself and others in your situation.

You noticed you were lost and disconnected from the aliveness of you in the present moment.

You could see and feel how this felt small, confining and even painful. And you remembered to come out of your Chattering Mind and into your Open Mind, compassionately and bravely being with your Chattering Mind’s stories and emotions.

This led you to know first-hand how easy it is to get lost and disconnected from the moment.

You now know how uncomfortable it is to feel like a small, static, stuck self.

So when you see family members, friends or even strangers lost in their Chattering Mind’s stories about a challenging situation, you understand where they really are.

This understanding naturally awakens your desire to help and support—your compassion.

Practice :: This week, when you are interacting with family, friends, teachers and classmates remember your own Open Mind and Heart.

When you notice you are interacting from your Chattering Mind, feel your breath and body and allow your heart to open.

Bring the wisdom of your Open Mind and the compassion of your Open Heart to each interaction.

No matter where your friend may be coming from within themselves, remember their capacity for wisdom and compassion too.

March 28, 2016
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Mindful Monday :: Your Open Heart

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Opening bravely to the flow of life, to your Likes and Dislikes, Attachments and Resistance and all of the emotions that follow naturally moves you out of the small, solid-feeling Chattering Mind and closer to who you really are.

You are not just your always-changing Chattering Mind.

You are not just your ever-shifting Likes and Dislikes.

You are more than your fluctuating Attachments and Resistance.

And you are surely not your always-passing emotions.

Bravely opening to the flow of life and to your thoughts, feelings and emotions creates a natural space. And resting your Inner Attention in this space allows room for the fundamental qualities of your Open Heart—compassion, kindness, joy and acceptance—to awaken.

There is nothing magical, mystical or romantic about the qualities of your Open Heart.

Compassion, kindness, joy and acceptance are fundamental to being human.

However, they easily get lost under all the noise in your Chattering Mind.

Through practice you are able to remember and cultivate them when you consciously let the stories go and bravely open to the flow of life.

Practice :: This week, use the Guided Awareness Meditation each night before you go to bed. Let it remind you of your Open Mind and Open Heart. Through out the week, remember that you are not just your Chattering Mind, you also are your open, receptive mind and compassionate, kind heart.

March 21, 2016
by kidsuserguide
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Mindful Monday :: The Spaciousness of Silence

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Your Chattering Mind is a loud and active place most days.

And the more your Chattering Mind is stimulated by television, computers, smart phones, video games and music, the louder and more solid-feeling your Chattering Mind becomes.

Underneath all the noise of our technological world and the Chattering Mind is a ground of silence.

You can hear it when you switch off all your electronic devices and allow your Inner Attention to step out of your inner dialogue and into the spacious clarity of the quiet.

Practice :: Awareness of Silence

This week, when you notice your Inner Attention is lost in the fog of your Chattering Mind, kindly invite your Inner Attention out of your chatter and into the silence around you.

If you need to unplug everything, go for it!

You may even need to get outside to a quiet spot under a tree.

As you shift your Inner Attention to silence, allow the spaciousness of the silence into your Inner Attention.

Let the space of the quiet remind you of the space of your Open Mind.

Bravely live into the spaciousness of your Open Mind by consciously and continuously letting the space of the silence into you attention.