Last Sunday, I celebrated my birthday in a Vedic style with the children of Nithyananda Bala Vidyalaya, a weekend program for children (age range from 4-14 y.o.) which I have been teaching since June 2011. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to spend my birthday in other typical ways except to be surrounded by kids.
My passion in working with children was kindled in July 2003 by a very dear friend and a yoga teacher from Australia, her name is Gerry Hillier, whom I first met in a Yoga Teachers Training in Byron Bay. She was also a drama teacher in a local elementary school at the time. Just by listening to her stories and lovely experiences when teaching children in drama classes and teenagers in youth drama production really got me inspired to start exploring into this possibility in me. Another motivation was my son, Kai as I wanted to give him a holistic learning experience besides the academically driven learning from the educational system.
Driven by this new exploration, both Gerry and I set up a company called Other Ways of Learning in August 2009 so that I could introduce her programs in Singapore. During the 2.5 years of ‘understudy’ with Gerry, she taught me many skills that would become useful in my future work with children.
The first understanding which Gerry opened my mind to was – each child’s mind is a place of great richness, talent, creativity and sensitivity. Each child is worthy of acceptance, understanding, love and guidance. The more healthy experiences we give children – experiences that originate from understanding, acceptance, kindness and love – the more opportunities they will have to experience their innate wholeness. She also gave me an insightful meaning of a teacher, she defined a teacher is someone who loves enough and is present enough to enable others to discover themselves. Gerry is a very creative person, she is able to create a space that allows a process of self discovery for children using creative expression such as drama, theatre and movement/sound. She recognises the different types of intelligence and that all children can be guided to turn inwards to discover what has always been there – who we really are. She made me experience the creative child in me again, a dimension which I had forgotten in the process of growing up. Even though the venture didn’t take off as we planned, the invaluable experience added the knowledge and confidence which allowed me to continue this possibility in life.
Armed with this budding passion, the moment my master, Paramahamsa Nithyananda (fondly known as Swamiji) announced the first children program known as eN-Vidyalaya in 2011, I jumped on it without hestitation. What a perfect timing! The curriculum was based on his teaching of handling the 7 emotions of human beings (7 chakras). For 18 months, I was literally put on a fast-track expansion curve being a pioneer in this program. So many things I learned in the doing! Many times my tolerance was put to test when dealing with my own inauthenticity and children’s wild energy. I struggled a lot and became aware of my incompletions when the children started to press all the right buttons. I realised that I needed deeper understanding about the science of relating with children. So I took a break for 10 months to work further on myself.
Through eN-parenting workshop, I discovered the space of enlightened consciousness called the Space of a Child where children reside in from the first 7 years of age. To relate with children, we need to get into their space instead of pulling them out into the adult’s space – which is highly corrupted with societal conditioning of fear and greed. The Science of completion taught by Swamiji gave me the tool to heal my inner space and I also completed the pattern of anger and irritation. There was a regained confidence and patience after I started to align myself to integrity and authenticity.
In Nov 2013, I restarted the updated kids program called Nithyananda Bala Vidyalaya. This time there was no more struggle, only authentic listening, pure joy and celebration with the children. Even my relationship with my son improved tremendously when I took up the responsibility to work with children. We are able to enjoy a deep communion because I know how to relate with him from his space not my space. Helping the kids to complete with their incompletions becomes a breeze for me because I am able to provide my listening to them. Listening provides inner healing and opens the door to the space of a child. In that space, only pure listening, awareness, discovery and creativity exist! When children are able to remain in the Space of a child, they wake up like flowers with deep love and they radiate the purity of a Buddha.
After the alchemy process of Shivoham in Inner Awakening last December, whenever I look into the eyes of each child, I am just overflowing with love of a Cosmic Mother. They make me feel young at heart, no wonder people are telling me I am growing younger as I age. Working with children has put me on a path of continuous expansion and a constant celebration as we discover their possibilities.
Children represents our next generation, they are a huge possibility in terms of the future for humanity. As parents, educators, care givers, our responsibility is to hold a space of possibilities and give them the confidence, security and right knowledge to explore themselves and life. I am really looking forward to the launch of the first Weekend Gurukul in Singapore as a part of my contribution to the development of an enlightened civilisation. Namaste 😀