An app that can calm children, soothe them to sleep and help them concentrate? Most parents I know would give their eye-teeth for such help. So why does this new ‘Mindfulness’ app, along with the trend that inspired it, worry me so much?
For me, the problem is that mindfulness techniques are based on meditation, a form of self-hypnosis currently embraced by several high profile figures and mooted as a wonderful new route to mental health. Now, there are special apps for children, including one for under-5s.
“No harm in that,” I hear you say. But meditation has various types, some of which are not beneficial and may in fact be dangerous. With this in view, let’s be mindful of what meditation actually is and which forms should be avoided.
deep, concentrated thinking; a means of reviewing the past, pondering the present and considering the future – not just our own but that of others and the world in general. Successful meditation requires complete solitude with no distractions – no mobile devices or online games to interrupt the process.
True meditation should be purposeful and focused, even resulting in amazing Eureka moments such as celebrated thinkers such as Stephen Hawking must enjoy while contemplating the universe!
To get the best from this practice, we need to look to the best possible examples, such as wise and spiritually-minded people mentioned in scripture. In fact, the Bible encourages meditation - not the sort that involves emptying the mind or muttering mindless mantras and empty repetition, but meditation that helps us to dwell on wholesome and upbuilding topics.
King David, for instance, often lay awake ‘in the watches of the night’ meditating on deep spiritual matters which provided him with inner depth and moral strength. (Psalm 63:6 Psalm 1:3)
Many forms of meditation have roots in ancient Eastern religions. “The mind has to be empty to see clearly,” said one writer on the subject. His words reflect the view that emptying the mind while focusing on certain words or images promotes inner peace, mental clarity, and spiritual enlightenment.
According to another source, “A typical meditation consists of focusing your full attention on your breath as it flows in and out of your body. Focusing on each breath in this way allows you to observe your thoughts as they arise in your mind and, little by little, to let go of struggling with them”
Although it may seem harmless, this technique which encourages you to let go and ‘empty the mind’ is not only employed by yoga practitioners but also by spiritualist mediums as they seek to contact their guides in the spirit world. And you don’t need to be a practicing psychic to invoke the demons! Even though we may initially feel we benefit, emptying our mind leaves us open to some very nasty squatters! (Matthew 12:43-45)
Whether you believe meditation can help, or may be a fast-track to demon possession, the road you choose to follow is entirely up to you. But, before you buy a meditation app for your toddler, please take time to research the subject carefully.