I’ve written before about Eastern religion practice in the schools. Then this issue hit closer to home. During the coronavirus school-at-home season, a class of middle schoolers (one of whom I know) received instruction (via their tablets) to do a 10-minute “guided body scan meditation.” The graphic showed someone sitting in the lotus position.
At some point in the exercise, the instructor mentioned the crown chakra. Per Webster’s, a chakra is “any of several points of physical or spiritual energy in the human body according to yoga philosophy.” You have to understand that “yoga philosophy” equals “Hindu philosophy.” Just look up chakra or crown chakra on any instructive Hindu websites. (References to “serpent power” are especially… um, interesting.)
The exercise itself came through completely as audio. But the whole time, the instructor’s website address was on the screen. (I couldn’t help wondering how a private enterprise—and one with religious aspects—manages to get free advertising by way of the public school system!) Had anyone decided to further look around on that instructor’s website, they would have seen the Hindu “om” symbol on the home page, photos of people in yoga/Hindu poses, and a click-through to qigong meditation. There are various definitions of qigong: one site defines it as “Taoist yoga”; some sites talk in terms of physical benefits; others talk in spiritual terms of opening “spiritual channels” like the third eye.
Going back to my young friend… Just a few seconds into this exercise, he was savvy enough and bold enough to tell the teacher he was refusing this assignment. Though he might have been penalized, his kind teacher let it pass.
Now, had the class actually been meeting in person, you wonder what would have happened. It might have been fun if my young friend had said, “Teacher, I have a better idea. Instead of this meditation, I’ll read Psalm 23. We can all listen and then sit quietly and relax for 5 minutes. We can think about how cool it is that the creator of the universe cares about us.” Wonder if that would have been OK! Be that as it may…
Parents, most students aren’t as savvy as my young friend—and wouldn’t question things like this. Please find out what’s happening at school and help others do the same. Did you know that 100 Ohio pastors have told the state Board of Education to stop all the Eastern religion stuff in schools?