Teens Dive Deep Into Mindfulness

Radically defying the stereotype that they’re incapable of sitting still, teens come year after year to rest in silent retreat with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education.

It is time to say goodbye. Soon, planes and cars and vans and trains will usher them along interstates and railway tracks back to their adolescent lives—to the so-called real world of noise and notifications, social stress and parental pressure. Now, a final hour remains for farewells. The 40 teenagers and a dozen adults, ensconced in a retreat center in the rural hush of upstate New York, are arrayed on chairs, mats, and cushions in a ceremonial circle. A girl rises from the floor, leaving a small hollow between the new friends who flank her. She approaches the center of the room and bends toward the rug to claim a mallet. The collective gaze of the circle embraces the young woman.

“I feel this community will always exist,” she says quickly, her shy glance cast down- ward. With a small mallet, she taps the rim of a gong—a gong that has marked the many meditative beginnings and endings of the last five days. A vibrant tone mingles with sporadic sniffles and the snaps of her friends’ fingers.

The community she refers to is a mere five days old, the powerful creation of a teen mind- fulness retreat. Held during the…

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About the author

Victoria Dawson

Victoria Dawson is a freelance writer based in Washington, DC. She regularly contributes to Mindful.

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