The four year-olds at the preschool sat mindfully with me for about five minutes. Ok, they didn’t sit very mindfully. They talked, they asked questions, they told me about Rudolph, they stared at the ceiling, and they rolled on each other every now and then. But they did sit with me. I would spend five minutes with them every week, and I treasured the time, even if it wasn’t as mindful as I’d choose.
It’s very real. They’re very real. They are really excited to see me and tell me about Rudolph and the reindeer headband that they’re wearing. They mean it when they tell me thank you when I leave. They like the bell. They like hitting the bell and listening to it, even if they haven’t quite gotten the trick of listening quietly and distinguishing when they can’t quite hear it any longer.
They are very real, and if I’m honest, they’re pretty much like me in my attempts at mindfulness. I can sit a bit longer than they can, and I can pay attention a little more than they can. But it’s only a little. If I’m honest, I wish I were more like them in my attempts at mindfulness. I can be more quiet, but they are more thankful, more full of wonder at all the details of their lives. They are more alive to the world. They are more real. Their minds may spin, but they don’t get caught up in the spinning. They just go with it. They’re mindfully aware of it, even.
Maybe the next time I sit with them, I need to pay more attention to them instead of hoping that they pay more attention to me.