mrs. neal's not-so-conventional MEDITATION [CLASS] for TEENS...

...the book and the recorded meditation


I want to know how God created this world.
I am not interested in this or that phenomenon,
in the spectrum of this or that element.
I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.

– Albert Einstein, physicist (3)


Have you ever been upset about something, and had someone tell you, “Just take a breath!”? (Sound familiar?)

So, take a breath! Feel better?

How long did that take? A second or two?

Can you spare a second or two out of your life if it will help you see things more clearly?

Teens tend to live in their own little black and white world of emotion, filled and fueled by their idealism.

Normal? Yes. Stressful? Yes.

Can you do anything about it? Yes.

Remember back in chapter nine — reading the explanation of your emotional responses? Remember that part about this all being an explanation, not an excuse for bad behavior?

Ultimately, you are responsible for your behavior, and your reactions; this “big picture” thing will help you get a grip on that.

— ♦ —

There is a greater benefit to taking that breath when you are upset than just inducing the relaxation response. That moment it takes for you to take a breath may give you just enough time to get a glimpse of the “big picture” — the bigger story behind whatever it is that is upsetting you.

Seeing that big picture can be a bit of a challenge for teenagers — whose world is usually filled with extremes and emotions.

Again, let’s go back to chapter nine — whether they are verbal or physical, your responses to your world at this age tend to be emotional, and this is what makes it difficult for you to see the big picture.

— ♦ —

We all see our own little part of the big picture, but none of us can truly see the whole picture. There is way too much to try to see or understand — the world is far too complex.

Our vision of the world is generally based on our personal perspective — drawn from our personal life experiences, and our personal backgrounds or upbringing.


Here’s an exercise that you can do that will help to explain:

Make a little circle with your hand by curling your hand and touching the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb. You’ve just made a make-believe viewer of the world!

Now, hold your hand up to your eye and look through the center of that circle.

Pick one area in the room to focus on, and try to come up with a story based on what you see through your little make-believe viewer. Try to get every detail you can of this little picture, and write a story of life in this room based only on what you see through your little make-believe viewer.

Are you able to tell a story of life in this room? Is your story accurate, based on what you see?

Does your story tell the whole story of life in this room, or just a part of it?

What if 20 students were in the same room with you, doing this same exercise, and writing their own stories of life in this room — based on what they see through their little make-believe viewers?

Now, what if we were to put all of those stories together — would that tell the whole story of life in this room?

Even if there were 50 or 100 students all in the same room, doing the same exercise, writing their little stories based on what they see, then combining all of those stories of life in this room into one big story, these stories still would not tell the whole story — or show the big picture — of life in this room.


Now imagine trying to tell the story of life in the whole house or building, or the block you live on, or the city you live in, or the state, or the country where you live.

Think about this for just a minute: this country where you live is just one of many on this planet, and this planet is just one of many in our solar system, which is part of one of many galaxies, which is part of one of many universes. Whew!

— ♦ —

Let’s put this a different way: you know how tiny a grain of sand is. Consider that you are like a grain of sand living in a house, that is like a grain of sand on a planet, that is like a grain of sand in a galaxy, that is like a grain of sand in a universe...

What if this exercise represented the story of all of our lives, not just the story of life in this room?

Is that whole “big picture” thing coming into focus now?

— ♦ —

When you find yourself in a situation where you are allowing someone or something to upset you — pause a moment. Don’t react. Take a breath.

Give yourself those few seconds or so that it takes to take a few breaths. Allow your brain to sort out what it is that is happening and what it is that is getting you upset.

Take another breath, then another, and another. Try counting to 10. Keep doing this until you feel yourself becoming calmer, and then respond to whatever it is that is upsetting you.

— ♦ —

Learn To Change Your Perspective

You also can try to change your perspective to help you to see that big picture.

If someone is annoying you, try to see the situation from their perspective — from their point of view.

There is an old proverb about not passing judgment on someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes. By placing yourself in their “shoes,” you may be able to understand their perspective. Remember that each of our points of view is based on our individual life experiences. What might that person’s experiences include?

Even if you don’t understand that person’s actions or choices, or their life experiences, by taking that moment to take a breath, you still can make an effort to see through their eyes.

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For what it’s worth, this is where our faith can come into play, too. While we only see a small part of that big picture, we need to have faith that God sees the big picture. He not only knows the whole story; He wrote the book and He knows how it ends.

— ♦ —



What steps can you take to see the big picture?





Science is not only compatible with spirituality;
it is a profound source
of spirituality.

– Carl Sagan,
scientist / astronomer