6 Ways to Stay Connected in a Space of Wisdom

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6 Ways to Stay Connected in a Space of Wisdom

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Summary The Middle Way School and the Rigpé Yeshé Children Programme got together to think about families around the globe who are adjusting to a whole new way of being together. They came up with a list of suggestions and activities to connect as a family, in a space of wisdom.
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6 Ways to Stay Connected in a Space of Wisdom

Daily Activities for Buddhist Families 

The Middle Way School of the Hudson Valley and the Rigpé Yeshé Children Programme got together (virtually!)  this week to think about families around the globe who are adjusting to a whole new way of being together. We came up with a list of suggestions and offerings of activities to connect as a family, in a space of wisdom. 

We would love your feedback and additions (please use the comment section). 

With lots of love, 

Daniela Dalal, Rigé Yeshé (Germany)
Jesse van Delft, Rigpé Yeshé (Holland)
Noa Jones, Middle Way (USA)

1) Sit Together

Spend at least 3 minutes sitting together at the same time every day. Here you can find some inspiration and tips on how to share a quiet moment of family meditation together with your children.

As parents we teach our children to care for their bodies by brushing their teeth, eating right and getting enough sleep, but we aren’t quite as clear when it comes to teaching them how to maintain their mental health. Extensive research confirms that just a few minutes of sitting meditation each day calms the mind, body and spirit. When family members have a peaceful place inside themselves, they naturally become happier and more positive, getting along better with each other and those in their world. For both children and adults, everyday obstacles become more workable and natural harmony is easily regained”

Kerry Lee MacLean, Lerab Ling, South of France,  May 2009

2) Refuge

  • Co-create or tend to a sacred space in your home. Can you tend to it every day? Once you establish something together, children can continue on their own daily or you can have this be part of your morning ritual. Commit to what you feel is possible and stick to that. Read Middle Way’s article on Sacred Spaces.
  • Make a fairy home or cozy corner outside or inside, a place where you feel safe.
  • Learn a song: “The island of the self: (Plum Village song) and draw what your island would look like. Lyrics below.

Lyrics:

Breathing in I go back
To the island within myself
There are beautiful trees
Within the island
There are clear streams of water
There are birds
Sunshine and fresh air
Breathing out I feel safe
I enjoy going back to my island

From the dharma talk: “The Island of the Self; The Three Dharma Seals” by Thich Nhat Hanh:

“The Buddha said that every one of us has an island within, an island of peace and stability within, and we should practice so that we can profit from the existence of that island within ourselves. When he was eighty, the Buddha knew that he was going to pass away in a few months, and he knew that his disciples were going to miss him. During the last six months, around the city of Vaishali, he used to talk to the monks and the nuns about taking refuge within yourself. The expression is atadipa. Ata means self, dipa means island. When you go back to that island, you experience peace and stability.”
Click on the link for the pdf of the full dharma talk https://goo.gl/YqsbVC

3) Lineage

  • Teach your children what you do for a career or a hobby. Start by telling them how you learned to do what you do. Who taught you? Who taught them? How far back does it go?
  • Make a family album with a family tree.

4) Loving Kindness

  • Try to be ok with boredom and anything which is arising such as anger, anxiety, jealous…be kind to yourself 
  • This guided loving-kindness practice with Kirsten DeLeo was created for adults and older children in response to the coronavirus pandemic, to help us calm our minds, find stability, and open our hearts. Filmed at Dzogchen Beara, a Tibetan Buddhist Retreat centre located in County Cork, Ireland:

  • Create a piece of postcard-sized art for someone who is alone or needs support and send it through the post. Or take a picture of it and send it online. The whole family can contribute, with a drawing or a sentence.

5) Immeasurable Joy

  • Have a dance party! Or even more fun, a Freeze Dance Party, where one person is the DJ and when he/she stops the music everyone else has to freeze. 
  • Ask: What happens when you dance mindfully? Or use only one body part? 
  • We have created an upbeat, uptempo dance playlist here.

6) Dedication

Concluding the day together: At the end of the day, make a regular appointment with the whole family and keep true to it. This is time well spent! Just 5 minutes to share what the highlight of your day was, a moment when you felt love or a sense of care. Listen to each other without interrupting. If that is difficult you could use a special object, like a beautiful stone or a talking stick, that you pass around to take turns.

Think of a person you know who is not so well right now and dedicate all the goodness from your day to this person. If it helps you can try to imagine sending love, happiness and health  in the form of rays of light towards that person and imagine the person really receives it.

You can also dedicate your day to a few people and animals, for peace and well – being in your country and in the whole world. 

May everyone be well, happy and safe! May all those who are sick be healed quickly and find all the support they need! 


Main photo courtesy of Samantha Jo

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