What does it mean to be human?

Under the wider banner of “what does it mean to be human?”, Coventry University is holding a debate with experts in the fields of mindfulness, psychology and consciousness studies, “should children be taught mindfulness?”

These two very questions shows that there is no clarity on what it does mean to be human in the modern western culture, nor recognition of the impact of meditation on human development.

In the words of Carl Jung, “Westerners (those born, educated and cultured in the West) cannot slap Eastern spirituality (non duality, ego transcendence, pure consciousness experience) on top of a western ego and expect enlightenment”. ~Carl Jung

In a culture that is dominated with social media, where many find communication easier through technology over face to face human contact, increasing sense of loneliness, isolation and mental illnesses, mindfulness meditation is a welcome relief and antidote.

Children too feel misunderstood, separated, alienated, confused, and burdened by the ideas, beliefs, judgments and impositions of peers, social norms, and are in need of guidance from adults who themselves are often struggling to attain inner clarity and peace.

Mindfulness should be taught to everyone, with a complete curriculum that includes, not just the practical teachings but are accompanied by the teachings and impact of those great geniuses who have contributed something to the beauty of this planet, to humanity who have meditation based traditions. In other words, mindfulness should be taught hand in hand with the lives and teachings of Guru Nanak, Buddha, Kabir, Loa Tzu, Basho, Namdev, Osho, Ramdev, Sri Nisargadatta Mahara, Jalaluddin Rumi, J. Krishnamurti, Omar Khayyam to mention just a few.

Teaching mindfulness to children without the appropriate context and failing to recognise its long-term impact may just be yet another addition to our over programmed children, “things to do”.
With the appropriate curriculum that can educate children to meditate and about meditation will enable them to connect to their selves, experience their inner silence and discover answers within themselves. With appropriate teachings, guidance and encouragement they can learn to strengthen their intuition, trust their inner voice and increase their self-awareness: Impact of meditation on children include:-

• Feel empowered

• Build healthy self image

• Develop healthy self-esteem

• learn self-responsibility

• Learn to focus

• Learn self-discipline

• Cultivate inner peace

• Cultivate creativity

• Cultivate self compassion

• Cultivate self respect

• Cultivate present moment

So what does it mean to be human? “To be human is to know death, to know death is to know the ego, to know the ego I to transcend the ego, to transcend the ego, is divinity itself”. – Dav panesar