13 November 2017

From the Head of Junior School

The Restful Mind

On Wednesday 11 October, the Junior School hosted an honored guest. His Eminence Gyalwa Dokhampa from Bhutan visited our school and told the boys a beautiful story from his country that illustrated the link between everyone and everything. His story of four harmonious creatures perfectly demonstrates the harmony, interdependence, co-operation and friendship between four animals who become close friends.

The story is a familiar Tibetan motif and a beautiful allegory: The elephant represents our body, the monkey represents the restless mind, the rabbit represents emotions, and the bird is the soul. This story is displayed in every school in Bhutan and tells students how we are all dependent on one another and how we need to help one another so that we can all do our best and succeed.

During his talk, His Eminence answered some wonderful questions from the boys that ranged from questions about Bhutan to questions about his religion.

Following the assembly, His Eminence visited our staff meeting and spoke to the teachers. He spoke about the esteem teachers are held in in Bhutan and the important role they play in helping students learn and to become leaders in their country. He also shared with us the importance of a restful mind and the approach taken in Bhutan to ensure that every student meditate every day while at school.

In his book 'The Restful Mind", His Eminence talks about the restless mind. The restless mind is frightened of silence, easily bored, and busy, busy, busy. The restful mind is creative and alert, relaxed and confident. The step from one to the other is all in the way we think. He talks about the pressures of modern life and how our crowded minds have left us too little space to stretch and grow. He shows us new ways to calm body and mind, become more aware, better able to deal with problems and appreciate the moment. It is with our mind that we create our world.

He teaches that living in the modern world doesn't have to mean living with a mind that is restless, fearful and endlessly busy, but that we can transform the mind into one that is calm, confident and alert.

This year we have been working to create restful minds in our boys. Classes have been engaged in meditation two to three times per week. We have introduced other mindfulness activities to assist in increasing the boys' energy and to create active minds, to address sensory needs and to calm the mind. Teachers have seen clear benefits in the boys' behaviour, learning and social and emotional development.

His Eminence has reminded us of the importance of restful minds in the development of creative and alert, relaxed and confident people. We will be continuing our work on mindfulness into 2018 looking to give the boys the personal skills to regulate and calm themselves so to better manage the challenges of our restless society.

Mr John Stewart
Head of Junior School