This story can be used to create the feeling of an inner journey towards quietness or ‘mental stillness’. It is a great way to lead into the experience of meditation or ‘quiet time’ with your class.
“Son, the time has come. I have brought you here so that you can take your rightful place as a guardian of the forest. This sacred duty has been passed down through generations and now it is your turn to learn the magic of the forest,” said Fredrick’s father, as they sat beside the campfire.
The hairs on top of Fredrick’s head started to rise when he realised his time had finally come. His father was about to share the secret of the magic forest.
“This forest is no ordinary forest. Hundreds of years ago our ancestors started coming here. They learnt that if you come here and know how to really listen, the trees, birds and animals can speak to you.”
Fredrick looked up at his father in astonishment. “Surely not. How can tree’s speak?” he said, feeling that his father couldn’t possibly be telling the truth, but secretly hoping it was true.
“You have to learn to really listen,” said Fredrick’s father.
“I already know how to listen,” said Fredrick.
“This is a different kind of listening. To hear the voice of the forest you have to be absolutely quiet inside. There can be no noise in your mind to get in the way,” Fredrick’s father said.
Fredrick wondered if it could really be that easy, but looking into his father’s face, he could tell that he was speaking the truth.
“You’ll know you are ready to hear the voice of the forest when you begin to feel a cool breeze coming out the top of your head and flowing across your hands.
“I’m going now. You have to do this on your own. It may take a short time, or it may take a long time, but you will know when it happens. Good luck son,” Fredrick’s father kissed him lightly on top of his head, picked up his bag and quietly left the grove.
Fredrick unrolled his swag and sat by the campfire, staring into the flames. He sat for a long time and watched as the flames began to change. It looked as though the flames were dancing, playing with the air.
He began to focus on his breathing. He could feel the cool evening air flowing in through his nose and out again, relaxing him more and more. The cool Earth felt solid and strong beneath him.
A gentle cool breeze began to slowly rise up Fredrick’s spine. When it reached his stomach it spread out and he felt completely peaceful and calm.
Next, the cool breeze moved up to his heart. He felt his heart expand with pure joy.
When the cool breeze reached his throat he began to hear a slow steady beat. He listened closely. He had not heard this beat before. The beat was strong and steady.
Boom, Boom, Boom
Boom, Boom, Boom
Even the trees seemed to sway to the beat.
Then he heard it.
A soft melody, like a faraway flute, was floating on the breeze.
It was the most beautiful sound he had ever heard. It seemed to lift the cool breeze higher, until finally it reached the top of his head.
When Fredrick felt the cool breeze flowing out the top of his head, it was as if a fountain had been placed there. He knew this was the moment he had been waiting for. The cool breeze danced around him and he could feel it flowing across his palms.
The music was beautiful and clear now. Sweet notes were falling over him like the mist from a waterfall. Fredrick felt completely silent and peaceful.
Just then, a brown forest owl flew down and landed in front of Fredrick. The brown bird stood quietly and looked into Fredrick’s eyes. Remembering his father’s words about listening, he kept himself very still and silent inside. The owl nodded his head flew back up into the nearest tree. Fredrick knew he had been accepted by this night watchman.
Fredrick became aware of the tall dark trees around him – the silence of their trunks, the depth of their roots. He realised they always felt this deep silence that he was enjoying now. Their presence encouraged him to go deeper and deeper into this new silent awareness.
Slowly, Fredrick heard a quiet and ancient voice grow in his heart.
“Fredrick you have now felt the tree of life growing within you. Come here each day and the cool breeze will make you feel strong and peaceful inside.”
Fredrick came to the forest every morning and every night after that. The cool breeze cleansed his mind and the tree of life grew tall and strong within him. When the time was right he brought his family and friends to share in the magic of the forest. The more people who came, the more the magic grew, until finally seeds from the magic forest began to grow strong in other places.
Many years passed and the magic of the forest was felt in all the lands by all the people. The tree of life became strong in everyone. It taught them many things – how to listen, how to love, and how to keep the cool breeze flowing:
Mother Earth, please help me to feel strong and balanced
Mother Earth, please help me to feel peaceful inside
Mother Earth, I have a ‘Tree of Knowledge’ inside me to guide me
Mother Earth, please help me feel the pure silence in my heart
Mother Earth, please help me to forgive everyone
Mother Earth, please help me to feel your cool breeze flowing out the top of my head, connecting me to everything
Download this story to read to your class: The Magic Forest by Sarah Parker
Notes for Teachers
* For more information about mental stillness in the classroom, visit: www.mentalstillness.org
To guide your class through a meditation use this beautiful YouTube video called Meditation for Beginners. It is based on Sahaja Yoga meditation and contains beautiful music and images. You can lead the meditation by saying the words as they come across the screen also – which is very helpful.