Meditation in a refugee camp…
Amongst the chaos, there is beauty and stillness. The lovely Lele and her husband Peter have been volunteering with kids in Greece for a while now, running various workshops, photography lessons, art classes and much more.
Naturally, the found the behaviour of the kids to be affected by the trauma they are experiencing and the turmoil and pain they are living through. So Lele and Peter began to introduce ‘silence’ to the beginning of their sessions, asking the kids to sit, with their eyes closed, and breathe.
Slowly they have built up this period of silence, from two minutes, to an impressive six minutes yesterday…and the response has been overwhelming.
Once the practice is finished, Lele has noticed many of the kids, often the boys, still sitting with their eyes closed, reluctant to break the silence.
One of the older boys said to Lele, ‘One hour…please Lele!!’
“It was so beautiful” she said. “A miracle in fact to see them sitting there, enjoying the silence.”
Of course sometimes children come in late, or others have wanted to disrupt this practice, but Lele has carefully dealt with this by encouraging those who ‘are able’ to participate in the silence to continue to do so regardless of what is happening around them. And it is working. The kids are looking forward to it, asking for it and enjoying it, and seem calmer and more relaxed as a result.
Lele says, “I don’t have words to describe these moments. I really have to hold back the tears. Happy tears. I love these kids so much, and seeing them calm and happy is the best gift I can get.”
Lele and Peter, thank you for being our messengers of peace.