Spanish translation: Espiritualidad para Niños
1.Sitting 2.Walking 3. Lying Down
1. Citizenship 2. Consideration 3. Fairness
4. Honesty 5. Integrity 6. Loyalty
7. Respect 8. Responsibility 9. Tolerance
– An Interfaith Prayer Service
Even from a very young age children learn about their innate spirituality underlying all religious practices from the examples of practical spirituality—caring love—around them; with family, friends, in community gatherings, in worship services.
This introduction to prayer, the meditations, and essays on virtues are useful in finding peace and abiding love within, forming a foundation for becoming a caring, useful adult.
In the interfaith prayer
service clergy of various religious faiths create a common ground for community
worship, and cooperation amongst all, extending into daily practical life.
Life becomes a prayer
through caring actions
Giving thanks becomes a life-long habit when begun early.
Giving thanks can be in the form of prayers from religion; uplifting verse; spontaneously formed in the moment.
A good reason for praying is to generate feelings of appreciation.
When we feel appreciative we are feeling happy and peaceful in that moment. In times of stress, taking time to remember one thing we do have, with appreciation, helps us see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Daily life has moments of
ups and downs; the downs more easily transformed from lemons to lemonade with
the sweetness of an appreciation or uplifting verse or thankful thought.
One-line Prayers of Appreciation
Lord, thank you for giving me time to love.
Lord, thank you for giving me this day to grow.
Lord, thank you for my family (and friends, teachers, pets, etc.).
Dear Lord, I appreciate my life.
Take time for a restful timeout in meditation whenever you need it.
When you are swamped with homework, when you've had an argument, take time to find the place of rest within yourself, as you deeply relax your body.
And perhaps, when you get up and become active again, some new ideas will come to solve problems.
This is true at any age.
Meditation, quiet time, with
a relaxed body and beautiful thoughts is a natural way to make space for
problem solving and moving in the right direction.
1. Sitting Meditation
2 to 10 minutes
Sit cross-legged, back held straight, and face forward. Clasp your hands and let them rest in your lap. Close your eyes.
Breathe easily and evenly, in and out. Silently count each breath in as one count, and each breath out as one count, till 50 counts, or another even number.
Count 1: breathe in
Count 2: breathe out
Count 3: breathe in
Now, while continuing to breathe evenly, think about ways you can show appreciation for the people in your life that you love.
To finish the meditation
take a final deep breath in, slowly let it out, open
your eyes, stand up, and stretch.
2. Walking Meditation
At least 2 minutes
This meditation has 2 parts
that combine to energize the body and coordinate mind-body (thinking-moving):
1. Even breathing.
2. Walking with arms and legs in opposition.
Walk briskly while swinging arms easily back and forth. When the left foot steps forward, the right arm swings forward. And, when the right foot steps forward the left arm swings forward.
While walking concentrate on breathing evenly in and out. Concentrating on breathing evenly is a way to learn how to concentrate on other activities.
If you are feeling out of sorts take a long walk; it helps bring more energy into your body so that when you get back you are refreshed.
To finish the walking meditation,
stretch arms overhead and then down to sides; resume other activities.
3. Lying Down Meditation
2 to 10 minutes
Lying on a piece of carpet or other comfortable surface stretch out on your back.
Close your eyes, let your body relax so much that it feels like you are melting into the floor. Breathe evenly in and out.
Count 1: breathe in
Count 2: breathe out
Count 3: breathe in
Lying so still and relaxed, keeping your eyes closed, visualize walking through the forest on a warm breezy summer day.
In your mind, see yourself standing still looking around, then notice the tops of the tall trees swaying gently in a regular rhythm, over and over again, just as your breath is coming in and flowing out regularly and evenly.
Enjoy the relaxed feeling in your own body that is lying so limply and undisturbed while watching the wind gently blow the tree tops back and forth. Let yourself feel whole and comfortable in your resting body.
After some time, begin to
come back to your everyday active self by taking a deep breath, opening your
eyes, stretching out your arms and legs, and sitting up.
Our points of view are formed from personal experience; our past experiences uniquely our own. We all react differently, even in the same circumstances.
We can keep our personal point of view while accepting that others' point of view is valid for them—by remembering that current perceptions and reactions are based on past input.
Politeness and consideration of others' ideas and feelings lends to mutually relaxed interaction, and additionally, to expansion of our own base of experience.
that broaden our view
extend our reality
of our intertwining roles
in each others' lives
From one of the parts
to our consciousness
as parts of the One
In everyday living we observe the interaction of adults and children. Children follow the example of the adults they are around. Children are molded more by example and their own experiences, than by book learning or what they are told. If a child is treated well with fairness and respect, he grows up possessing those same qualities. If a child is abused or lied to, that makes up the background for his adulthood.
Our own pure thoughts, words, and actions can bring about change in the hardened ones if they are given enough time and exposure. Because all are in search of happiness, and happiness is a soul quality, apart and unaffected by changes in the natural world and human mind, eventually a person exposed to good may find their inner source of happiness.
To raise our own level of
fullness in joy and happiness we need to live lovingly and conscientiously and
practice fairness every day. Then we are also being a good and uplifting
example to those around us.
Honesty is a quality that allows us to look in the mirror and see the reflection of how we really are. In honesty we see clearly and can make course adjustments. If we live each day in accordance with our conscience, our reflection in the mirror and how others see us will be well-balanced.
Thoughts are forms of energy and produce their exact genetic offspring. Good thoughts produce good; selfish actions lead to repeated dissatisfactions. Just as swimming in unknown cloudy water puts us at risk of facing hurtful obstacles, a cloudy thought process keeps us from viewing and resolving situations clearly.
Congruency between our words, feelings and actions, keeping our intentions for the highest good, breeds happiness in our life.
Honest to good feelings
with an attitude for the best resolve
reap honest to goodness thoughts and actions
Living in accordance
with our highest state of consciousness
We continuously create our reality by our choices, moment to moment—creating and maintaining harmony by following our conscience and acting for the highest good.
Personal integrity requires courage
We are being courageous in living according to our conscience when it would be easy to hide from others that we are not following our conscience. It is easier to slide down the hill of life, maintaining or digressing in our current state on consciousness, than to follow the sometimes hard climb up the path of what we know is right.
The reward for continually upgrading our personal integrity is that we become more conscious of our harmonious self-effulgent nature.
Through living with personal integrity others notice that we can be trusted—we become a trustworthy friend, an asset to our world family.
When we personally integrate
our highest consciousness
into our daily living
We have the most capacity to enjoy
happiness and harmony
Doing what one has committed to
amidst changing circumstances
Loyalty is a quality that develops our consciousness. Loyalty leads us deep into a situation, through it, and out the other side—emerging as a more developed person.
Loyalty is an essential in friendship. Acquaintances become friends through mutual loyalty.
Loyalty is an essential in friendship
that has developed
into the commitment of hearts
between two people
Loyalty in a heart to heart relationship
develops mutual trust
It is our duty to be loyal to those who depend on us: family, friends, our employer or employee.
Loyalty is caring love in action
Loyalty is powered by the energy
that comes into our body
by our caring attitudes and thoughts
Loyalty develops our soul
Transforming us into
the most beautiful
creation of a human being possible
We were each a child who grew and became more visible in the world. If we respect children as individuals who have their own thoughts, emotions, and dreams, they will feel good about themselves and in turn respect us. This back and forth respect and communication bridges the generation gap.
We tend to lump children together
as one homogenous segment of humanity
More often than not
because of their achievements
seeing the individuality of adults
rather than the uniqueness
of each child
For adults, children are our inspirations to act as best we can. Growth is from both sides. The 'adult' is the example and the 'child' inspires the adult to be their best.
Children are impressionable and react rapidly to stimulus. Children as individuals need a general and personalized plan with their schooling to develop their inherent qualities.
Besides academics, children need to learn practical living skills and spiritual practices, which provide a foundation to live in society as useful adults.
Children learn best
when they see the adults around them modeling
what they want the children to learn
When we begin taking responsibility for our actions, we reclaim our personal power.
When we stop placing blame on others or circumstances outside of ourselves, we reclaim our personal power.
When we put ourselves back into the driver's seat of the car of our life—we determine the roads we will follow. And, when we pick a destination that will bring about good, we set ourselves on the course that keeps us feeling harmonious while journeying.
The bottom line is that we are in charge of our decisions, so we may as well make those that are for the best—as that is what will create harmony and happiness in our life.
Taking responsibility, reclaiming personal power, is both a realization that we are in charge of ourselves, and our hand hold on maintaining a positive attitude. A positive attitude allows productive thoughts for the best solution and direction to follow, to come to our awareness—ready for our action.
We reclaim our personal power when we self-determine our actions.
As adults, we have rights and responsibilities, personally, and in our family or living situations. We need to make the choices—not let someone else choose for us, unless we specifically are in such a debilitated position that we can't choose for ourselves. When we delegate our care or decision making to another adult, when we are still able to decide for ourselves, we are giving away our life to them. That both gives away our life and puts an unfair burden on another person—as we could come back to them with the words "it was your idea," or "you made me do it."
To reclaim personal power,
when we have been used to delegating decisions on our own behalf we can:
1. Identify our ultimate and short term life goals;
2. Plan a course of action to reach those goals that does not harm ourselves or anyone else;
3. Take responsibility for the results of our actions—eliminate the habit of blaming someone else or circumstance for the outcome of our own actions;
4. Increase our awareness of Self through regular meditation, and the practices of positive attitudes, thinking and acting.
The outcome of being
responsible for our own decisions is a relaxation and peacefulness in our
body-mind, and a sense of contentment with life in general. We are the drivers
in the seat of the car of our lives—determining our destination and the roads
to travel. It is our right as an individual to be self-directed—Self-directed.
Caring love begets tolerance
that each of us
is doing what we need to
in (and for) this moment
from a state of mental relaxation
allowing us to remain calm
when we see others acting in a way
we think should be different
Caring love begets tolerance: When we care about others, we act for them as a support system. We are not there to make another person's decisions, unless we are entrusted with others well-being, (such as for a little child or a childish adult). To do so, robs another of control and ownership of their moment.
The mental relaxation of tolerance allows us to accept differences from ourselves that we perceive in others: their age, feelings, opinions, attitudes, religious beliefs, political positions, appearances, habits, actions, and more.
We are living in the large fish bowl of the world; our different perspectives on a given topic allowing many ideas to float in the brine. With the attitude of caring love, peace, and tolerance, ideas promoting the greatest good arise to the surface of our consciousness, into clear light; ready to benefit all creation.
while remaining peaceful
Recognizing that each of us
has the right to determine
An Interfaith Prayer Service
May the light of wisdom
Clergy of various faiths participate with the focus on the 'spiritual light' that enlightens all; promoting peace within each, and by caring, loving thoughts and acts, a growing world peace.
The meaning of the word enlighten is to be spiritually 'in light'.
With this in mind, a central symbol of worship could be a candle that is placed at the center of a table at the front; lit before the ceremony.
A moderator presides at the side front that lets the congregation know what is coming next and to introduce the participants.
Distribute the program of events to the congregation. Include the text of prayers offered by each clergy, and words to the songs to be sung by all. Congregation to take their copy home.
The congregation first take their seats. Moderator stands at side front.
The representatives of each faith enter from the back in a procession while uplifting music is played or sung, each holding an unlit candle, and one at a time approach the central lit candle lighting their own candle, and then placing it in a holder next to the main candle. Each clergy remains standing in front of their candle facing the congregation.
In turn, clergy offer a prayer from their own religious tradition that is universal in nature. When all clergy have concluded their opening prayer, the clergy are seated along the front row.
The moderator announces that a minute of silence will begin.
Next, offerings are made at the front of the room, of inspiring song or dance from each faith, or in honor of each faith.
After the offerings of singing or dancing, each clergy in turn comes forward, facing the congregation, and offers a short homily (time allotment preset) along universal lines, and returns to their seat.
At the end of the short homilies, the entire congregation, led by the moderator, recites a universal prayer for peace. An uplifting song is sung by all as the clergy leave in a recessional.
Example of a prayer for peace:
A Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your
Where there is hatred ... let me sow love.
Where there is injury ... pardon.
Where there is discord ... unity.
Where there is doubt ... faith.
Where there is error ...truth.
Where there is despair ... hope.
Where there is sadness ... joy.
Where there is darkness ... light.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek.
To be consoled ...as to console.
To be understood ... as to understand.
To be loved ... as to love.
It is in giving ... that we receive.
It is in pardoning ... that we are pardoned.
It is in dying ... that we are born to eternal life.
Recessional song idea:
Let There Be Peace on Earth
"Let There Be Peace on Earth
and let it begin with me.
Let There Be Peace on Earth, the peace that was meant to be!
With God as our Father, brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me. Let this
be the moment now.
With ev'ry breath I take, let this be my solemn vow;
To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally!
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me!"
-- Written by Sy Miller and Bill Jackson
Modify the basic ceremony format to suit the situation.
One modification could be
that each member of the congregation receives a small candle with a paper
shield near the base along with their program. At the end of the homilies, the
person seated nearest the center isle goes up and lights their candle from the
main candle and returns to their seat and passes their light, candle to candle,
down the row. When all candles in the congregation are lit this way the
recessional takes place singing the uplifting song.
Susan Helene Kramer is an international author of more than 50 books and thousands of articles on rhythmic movement, ballet, modern dance, music, social issues, philosophy, yoga and practical spirituality for children, teens, adults and those challenged, with some translations in Dutch, French, German, Greek and Spanish, and with her husband, Stan Schaap-http://www.stanschaap.com lives in The Netherlands.
Links to translations and related collections by Susan Kramer