‘Meditating gives me energy,’ he told me with the seriousness that only a 6-year-old can muster.
In Central Park I stumbled upon this kindergarten boy deep in concentration. I turned around on the playground and there he was positioned on a rock outcropping that seemed made for such devotion.
After several minutes of silent and motionless deep breathing, the kid jumped up and scaled the 30-foot rock formations in the Heckscher Playground—the oldest and largest in Central Park—overlooking Columbus Circle, the new Time Warner towers, and that wacky-looking Conde Nast building beyond.
Where had this kid possibly gotten the idea to practice a spiritual discipline at such a young age?
I realize that too much Family Guy can cause your kid’s brain to drain out his left ear. Until very recently my 6-year-old, Cole, was obsessed with Tom & Jerry—that legendary cartoon series about a cat and a pesky mouse (not the worst, but not enlightening for a young mind either).
Enter the new BBC series Human Planet (showing now on Discovery Network) in which an amazing assortment of human beings interact with the physical world in some of the most extreme and breathtaking conditions possible.
Cole has been transfixed. Some of the segments I found upsetting—like a village where the boys learn how to spear sperm whales or a father who teaches his son to take a baby eagle from its mother to train it to hunt for fox (the eagle gets to eat the fox’s lungs as its reward)—are Cole’s favorites. He will recount for just about anyone who will listen the minute details of each episode.
In one memorable sequence, a fishermen in Thailand found it necessary to risk his life by climbing across the raging Mekong River, twice as big in water volume as the Niagara Falls, to get to a fishing ground to feed his family. Before setting off on this feat of courage and danger, the fisherman meditated.
I must have been asleep during that part. But Cole wasn’t.
“I learned to meditate from the one about the fisherman,” the boy who happens to be my son whispered in Central Park.
… And then there’s this. No, I have not taken my son to see either the Broadway show nor the film of Billy Elliott, but any kid who can meditate, rock climb, and dance has to have quite a future, right?
Right. Back it down, proud papa.