The Plum Village Children’s Manual shares a story of Buddha’s challenges and temptations when he wanted to accomplish something very important such as enlightenment and peace. Usually, whenever we want to do something that is very important in our life, we meet challenges. The story is about Mara, the bad guy, the force that pulls us away from what we want, from what we know is right. Mara is out there, but he or she is also inside of us. The ways that Mara tries to challenge us is through Distractions & Desire, Fear and Doubt. Some ways to resist the Distractions & Desire & Fear, that keep us away from what we want, is through the practice of mindfulness with 3 in-breaths and 3 out-breaths whenever each of these challenges appear. When you are distracted by Doubt, the worst weapon of them all, is to sit very still and put one hand down and touch the Earth. Put one hand on your lap, and one hand touching the Earth while breathing 3 in-breaths and 3 out-breaths. This story reminds us that the Earth is always there for us, ready to support us and help us when we have difficulty. So, anytime you feel upset, lonely, scared or confused, go to the Earth. Release your feelings onto the Earth and open yourself up to her support and healing energy.
Join both your palms and bring them to your forehead, then to your heart, in this way uniting body and mind, and then kneel down, resting our forehead on the earth (the child’s pose in yoga) with our palms turned up in a gesture of receiving, of openness, of resting, while we listen to and visualize what we want. When you hear the bell, you stand up and bow. We will touch the earth 3 times, first to Mother Earth, then to our parents, then to enjoy and appreciate who we are.