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Meditation ~ A Family Affair

October 14, 2015

There is never a time too early to get kids involved in a contemplative way of life. If I look back at my life, I’m amazed at how influential growing up in such an environment was. I received meditation instruction when I was 10 years old but before that I would sit with my mom a little bit here and there. While I probably didn’t know it consciously at the time, I remember feeling good sitting quietly. It was fascinating to me that someone would choose to sit simply without talking. It was comforting and compelling. Sometimes we would chant and, in retrospect, I think the messages that were being conveyed in those chants influenced every aspect of my personal growth and have influenced my personal philosophies as an adult. While it’s hard for me to say what I would have been like if I hadn’t had these influences, I can say without doubt that they have had a positive effect on everything from a sense of confidence and an ability to self-reflect to conscious choices regarding my actions and nurturing a sense of compassion toward others.


The last few weeks at Karuna have been especially family oriented! September was not a particularly busy month and I was feeling the heat of producing sales. Just when I was about to give up, an African American family of three came in; a beautiful, very pregnant woman, her brother (or maybe husband) and mother. The reason why I point out that they were African American is because my experience of Buddhist culture in the West, for the most part, is glaringly white. As someone who seeks diversity in all aspects of my life, I view this as a stigma on my religious orientation. Needless to say, from that point of view, I was delighted that they stopped in! The man was so tall that I really didn’t think I had anything for him but in the end, they all decided to get the same thing – three burgundy gomdens and three royal blue zabuton mats. With everyone in the family participating in meditation practice, that baby is sure to be entering into a contemplative life!


In another instance, a mother and daughter, Kate and Ava, came in. Ava is five. Kate explained that in the past she had some eating disorders and went to a workshop with Jan Chozen Bays on Mindful Eating. She and Ava were quite a team and full of energy and curiosity. Kate bought zabuton and cushion sets for each of them. So inspiring!


On another occasion, a mother was buying a cushion for her daughter who was going to college. Oh my, how times have changed!


On October 6th Karuna hosted a gathering for Peace In Schools, a for credit high school program that provides mindfulness and yoga to teens. It is in five high schools this year, the largest of it’s kind in the country! Executive Director of Peace In Schools, Caverly Morgan, explained about the curriculum and how the program came about. With her team of enthusiastic teachers, Caverly is spearheading a whole new approach to teen education and many of the kids were quoted as saying this was the most influential class of their entire high school experience. Wow!!!


My friend Cheryl, who is not a meditator, asked what I had to offer at the store for kids. While there are no "toys" at Karuna (yet), a lot of the clothes are wonderful and small enough for children. There are also coloring books and “treasure” bags. In addition, all of the cushions and meditation items are appropriate for children to encourage them in meditation. Here's a related link about that:


I hope that you are enjoying Fall in our beautiful Portland. As the holidays approach I hope you will consider stopping by to browse our selection of gift items. We have recently made a nice connection with a local craftsman and now carry a gorgeous new meditation alter made of wood remnants from Pacific NW lumber mills. Each table is made from red oak and mahogany hardwoods. It has a water resistant finish, has no metal fasteners or veneer, beautifully exposed notch joinery and birch dowels. Built to last and made in Portland. ($180) Come see for yourself!


It feels good to have products that people can have a sensory experience with. In the words of a recent customer, “It's nice to be able to purchase my bench in person.” Viva Karuna!

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