Listening To and Inviting the Bell

Mindfulness is very important for us to teach our children. I first learned about inviting “The Bell” from an American Embassy School in Delhi, India.

Meemie Kemper shared this valuable practice with me which is one way to introduce this to your students/children.

“On our first session with the children in any retreat, we introduce to them the practice of listening to the bell and teach them to invite the bell. Sitting in a circle you can hold up the mini bell and ask if they know what it is. Ask if any of them have one at home. And what is the sound of the bell for? What do we do when we hear the bell? You can share that the sound of the bell is the voice of the Buddha, the voice of someone who loves them very much and only wants them to be happy and peaceful. So, when we hear the bell, we stop what we are doing and just breathe. We have a chance to rest, to take a break, got enjoy ourselves. We are aware of our in-and-out breath. There may be other sounds that make them feel peaceful and happy, can they think of some? Maybe a bird singing, or the sound of laughter, or a baby cooing or a bubbling brook, or the gentle sound of rain on the roof. These, too, are … the sound of awakening, and many sounds can help us come back to the place of calm and peace within us.”

Excerpt from Sharing Mindfulness with Children. Adapted from the Plum Village Children’s program manual.

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