Personal experiences of teenagers

Personal experiences in India

These two days have been some of the most beneficial days I have known. When I first saw the time-table and ten sessions in just two days, I wondered how I would ever sit for all of them. But then I found myself actually coming around fifteen minutes earlier to the hall and just quietly meditating. - Ammu (Class XI)

Firstly when I did Anapana, it was boring. But when I found a difference in myself, I started loving it. Anapana is very nice and interesting. It is very hard but not impossible. At first some pains are there, but as we practise more the pains become less and we feel comfortable afterwards. We can increase our self-confidence and we can also reduce anger, talking lies, etc. Lastly I say that everyone should learn Anapana and live happily. - Pooja Mantri (Class VIII)

After one month of Anapana meditation experience:
Experiencing is believing. With faith, born of experience, I can honestly say that not only have I felt calmer, but people around me also felt the same. A month is a long time and I have been through the usual ups and downs, but daily practice of Anapana has helped me to quickly regain my balance. - Lakshmi Naik

Now I have a feeling that I`ll be able to be more concentrated while studying and even if I get distracted I`ll be able to bring back my attention to my books as quickly as possible. - Gauthami (Class X)

I feel I have done a great job by attending this camp. I had never expected that attending this course could change my thoughts. Now I can differentiate between good and bad and I have learnt to control my mind and I am even interested to attend a ten days course. - Chodup Tenzing (Class IX)

Frankly speaking, I laughed at the idea of a meditation course before attending it. I thought it to be a painful course and it would be simply a wastage of time and energy. But when the course started, I began to realize that I was wrong. This meditation course was absolutely new to me and I had no idea about its essence before. It is a means through which one can boost one`s energy and mind. It not only gives mental but physical strength too. As we are students, our minds are always crowded with worry, tension and nervousness regarding our academics and our future. Being teenagers, we are always excited. So we should meditate for at least 15 to 20 minutes twice a day. This will help us to concentrate on our studies and thereby help us to fulfill our goals and aims in life.
Anapana is a technique which, I feel, is very helpful in guiding the young minds in the right direction. – Nazia Abedin (Class XI)

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Personal experiences in Asia

My scattered mind – reflections from a student in Malaysia

Tree planting in Malaysia

I can concentrate more on whatever I'm doing and get less distracted than I used to in the past. - teenage boy from Singapore

My concentration level went up and I could also have control over my anger to a certain extent. - Sagarika, girl from Singapore

I attended my first Anapana course at Dhamma Joti, Yangon in the year 2000, when I was eight years old. Since then, I've taken the 3-day course four times and the one-day course eleven times.

I like this wonderful technique, which showed me the beauty of Nature. Before I knew this, my mind was always crowded with thoughts of my future. I've become more confident and determined to face any sort of situations arising from stress, anxiety, anger and fear. I always do Anapana before I go to sleep, and every morning my father, mother and I do Anapana at the dining table before we eat breakfast. That daily 10-15 minutes practice of Anapana for about one year has helped me to change my behaviour and attitude. Before that my concentration was very bad. Now I feel that I've improved my concentration.

Anapana is the best technique to control our minds because boys of my age can be easily spoiled and influenced by bad friends. It keeps us on the right path. Anapana is a very good method which helps each and every person to improve his talents. It has helped me to gain first and second in the school swimming competition.

I'm grateful to Goenkaji and all the children’s course teachers and my parents. I think everyone should learn Anapana and live happily. - Wai Yan Hpone Paing

Creative activity, teens course at Dhamma Joti, Yangon

I attended my first Children’s Anapana Course, inspired by my mother, when I was only eight years old. The experiences during my first course were so impressive that I’ve attended about 13 children’s courses. It has totally change my way of thinking, that is my confidence level, concentration in studies, concern about others’ feelings and made me more helpful in nature.

At the age of sixteen when I went for an Anapana course, I was asked by the teacher to help the volunteers on the course. During half an hour of Anapana meditation I had some unexpected sensations. First I was shocked and then I gave my feedback to the teacher. The teacher suggested that I take a 10-day Vipassana course. My parents and my sister also encouraged me to take a 10-day course. My sister and altogether eight friends below twenty years old attended that 10-day course. My own experience of meditation during the course was so remarkable that I cannot find words for the feeling of sensations. The assistant teachers also helped me by encouraging me. In the end I had a satisfactory result.

Now I have better concentration power in my studies and I help my father in business too. I just finished my G.C. 'O' level - four subjects with 'A' grade and two with 'B' grade.

In future I will try my best to sit at least one 10-day course yearly and will encourage my good friends to attend these courses. I am sincerely grateful to all my teachers. - Nitesh Verma

Girls writing their course experience

I started meditating at the age of sixteen. At first, there were only 1-day courses for children. They didn't have 3-day courses like we have now. In 1-day courses children were divided into different age groups. Both of my parents are meditators, so they wanted me and my brother to join the children’s courses.

At first we just went there, not for the sake of going to meditate, frankly speaking we just went there for the sake of our parents. Being a sixteen year old girl, at that time it was troublesome for me to sit for one hour without opening the eyes. Sometimes I talked to myself: “Why they are torturing us like this? Ha Ha .. .. !”

But slowly and steadily, as time passed I found much more calmness, patience and confidence. My concentration level became much higher. At first, before meditation I lacked confidence and patience which make me very irritable and angry. As I joined more and more children’s courses, slowly I got better marks in examinations because of my good concentration power. That has helped me to gain confidence in myself.

One day my parents suggested to me to go for a 10-day course. Very willingly I joined and I tried to follow all the rules very nicely. To my surprise, it brought a lot of changes in me which can't be expressed in words. My parents and my brother are very happy with me. And now I am studying abroad, so I have to stay alone. At this time, this meditation helps me in deciding what is right and what is wrong. It gives me confidence to communicate with people well and it also helps me to understand other’s problems and other’s feelings.

I think everyone, especially teenagers and youngsters, should go for meditation to lead a better life and to have a much better personality. - Chitra Verma

Myanmar girls

I attended the first Anapana-sati course given by Goenkaji in 1996, at Dhamma Joti, Yangon, when I was eight years old. Since then, I have attended all my subsequent courses there: 1-day courses, 2-day and 3-day courses. We practised anapana-sati and we had small group discussion sessions and I found it beneficial in my life.

At pre-course talks we were inspired when we came to know about Goenkaji, our present teacher and lineage of teachers - Sayagyi U Ba Khin, Saya Thetgyi, Venerable Ledi Sayadaw and Buddha the enlightened one who taught the technique of Anapana-sati. We had the opportunity to observe the five moral principals.

In the small groups we discussed about what Dhamma is (the truth or law of nature), and the qualities of noble persons. This motivated us to practice anapana-sati diligently in the group practice in the meditation hall. The course showed us the path we have to take, so that we will lead a happy life and make others happy too. We felt the metta (loving kindness) and compassion of the teachers and helpers who were so pleasant and kind and helped us to understand the teaching.

I practice ten minutes each morning and evening so that the seed given by Goenkaji will sprout into a plant and grow into a big tree to give fruits, flowers, and shade in my life.

The benefits I got from the practice of Anapana-sati are:

- Nwe Lei Ko Ko (At the age of sixteen years Nwe Lei Ko Ko passed the matriculation examination with flying colours, with distinctions in all six subjects. At age seventeen, she successfully attended her first 10-day Vipassana course, and her second Vipassana course at the age of eighteen. She is now studying in the second M.B.B.S. class at the Institute of Medicine I, Yangon.)

Jogjakarta activity period

When the mind is agitated, scared, angry, sad,etc, we can meditate with anapana for a while and this will help in calming down the mind and making it clear - Teenager, Jakarta, Jan 2010

I can recognize what is in my mind. This is very useful because we wont be enslaved by our own minds - Teenager, Jakarta Jan 2010

Feedback from a teens course in Jakarta Dec 2009:

Course at Jogjakarta, Indonesia

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Personal experiences in Europe

Teenagers at Vipassana Centre in Hereford, UK

Meditation is a privileged moment that a person passes in calm far away from noise, far from everything! Particularly this tranquillity, which one finds so rarely in life. Life is a river which one purifies so little except in the course of meditation. It is sometimes peaceful, sometimes agitated, sometimes cloudy, sometimes dark. The mind is always overloaded with all sorts of thoughts. Meditation is an excellent way of taming the wandering mind. It is also a remedy for anger and melancholy. - Boy, aged 13

When I first started this course I did find it a bit hard, but as the course progressed I started to find it easier. Most people think that meditation is really easy, as you sit on the floor doing nothing, but that's where they're wrong, as it's one of the hardest things you can do. You have to concentrate on your breath all the time. It is my third time at Dhamma Dipa (he came to a weekend course after the first school course) and I really enjoy coming here as I become much more calm and relaxed. In my life I feel more peaceful and my parents have commented on how my attitude has changed. When I do meditation I feel as if I'm the only person in the room. I really can't wait to come in the future so I can become even more calm! - Boy from UK

Activity period in Germany

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Personal experiences in North America

Like when I get mad at one of my family members I can use what I've learned. Or when I'm doing my school work it will help me to concentrate. - Rachel Tonyan

I liked pizza night, although they didn't have mushroom pizza. I meditated finally for about 10 minutes, while being aware of my breath. I liked walking around the pond at the morning exercise/physical activity. I learned to be more patient than usual.

Teens' course in Canada (above), and California and Washington teens (below).


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Personal experiences in Latin America

I recommend this course because it teaches you to feel relaxed with yourself and for people like me, who suffer from anxiety, it helped me a lot.

Each time I come for a course my life is better, more tranquil, with less conflicts.

I would recommend this for people who smoke and drink or for those who are angry at life.

I think meditation is fundamental in our lives, and we should all practice it.

Photos from teens course for girls in Mexico.

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Personal experiences in Australia

Meditation hall at Dhamma Rasmi, Queensland

The course has taught me to be calm and peaceful and relax. I enjoyed the meditation exercises which helped me meditate. This program should be done by kids to assist and develop them in meditation which would help them in their life. It was very useful. - Diana, aged 16

I have gained a greater understanding of meditation as well as an improved sense of concentration. I enjoyed learning how to do Anapana as it was broken down into easy steps. It is very beneficial to do this course, Basically you feel better about yourself and you will have a more positive outlook. Thank you for letting me and the other children take this course. - Udan, aged 14

Break time in Queensland

I think I've gained more control of my mind and methods of calming myself down when in a crisis. I enjoyed meditating while listening to Goenka. Just go, you will definitely enjoy yourself. - Ruby, aged 14

I have learnt how to apply simple techniques on a daily basis and hopefully my concentration will improve. The lessons - they are in-depth and really encourage you to focus on your meditation. A great day to improve your skills in meditation and allow you to grow as a person. I recommend it highly. It was an informative great day and thanks to all the organisers. - Kasun, aged 16

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Personal experiences in Africa

I think meditation is very important in this busy world because it helps us to maintain a stable state of our mind and also it helps us to do our work with right understanding.


Photos from Ethiopia & Capetown, South Africa

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