A new book on meditation is inviting youth to take ownership of their prayer life. Guided Meditations for Young Catholics by Glynnis Hope B. Dawson is targeted at group leaders – catechists, youth ministers and teachers – to help them guide young people age 10 to 15 to a meaningful and relevant prayer life.
Dawson, a religion and family life resource teacher with the Toronto Catholic District School Board, says that in guided meditation a third party leads a participant as they listen to the sounds, contemplate the meaning of the words and reflect on the questions at the end of each meditation module.
"It allows the people who are praying (through) guided mediation to just sit and relax and let themselves be involved in the moment and to listen and not have to worry," she said.
The meditation approach is an alternative for young people who have trouble connecting to memorized and recited prayers.
"The book is a stepping stone" to taking ownership of their prayer life, said Dawson. "We want to develop our relationship with God. . . . It gives us a little taste of prayer. In some ways, it's a learned skill as well."
The intent is not only to develop a relationship with God, says Dawson, but "to develop holistically as a person, both body, mind and spirit."
The book organizes meditation modules with reflection questions under six categories: Myself, Advent and Christmas, The Gifts of the Holy Spirit, The Fruits of the Holy Spirit, Lent and Easter, and Faith in Action.
According to Dawson, Myself is about adolescence, figuring out who we are, our family and how we fit into that family. The gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit are geared towards youth preparing for or who have just experienced Confirmation.
Advent and Christmas, and Lent and Easter were chosen because schools and youth groups focus on those liturgical times every year.
The book is accompanied by a CD with original instrumental music by her husband John Dawson.
"We purposely tried to make the music to the beat of the heart, of a resting heart rate," Dawson said. "We're always so busy and inundated with the things around us. . . . The music is there to slow down our thoughts."
Without lyrics, the music is free to be used by group leaders for other activities.
The book costs $29.95 and can be purchased through novalis.ca.