The goal of this challenge is to document on paper how many times our mind shifts during likhita japa − the less number of color shifts, the better!! We like to use this to help the children learn to focus completely on their likhita japa — which can be a difficult task for 5/6 year olds :-) So, to make it fun, we ask them to do the following:
1. Place at least 2 different colored writing pens in front of them, along with their journal.
2. When the aunty says "OM" they are supposed to pick up one of the pens and begin their likhita japa, writing ऊँ (and thinking only of ऊँ!)
3. If they find themselves thinking of anything else (even for a split second) they are supposed to: a) put the pen down and pick up another color; b) take a deep breath and; c) start writing ऊँ again.
Repeat step 3 until the pre-determined time is up. We usually do 5 minutes.
We emphasize to the children that they must pay very close attention to their thoughts, and only they will know when it is time to change pen colors. When we gather for our "circle time review" we make it a point to praise the children for being honest with themselves. We then will talk about what distracted our thoughts, and how we can try and do better during our next session.
Note: Before we start this game, an aunty will demonstrate how we play − speaking her thoughts aloud, changing pens when she shifts from "OM," taking a deep breath, and then starting all over again. We never show any disappointment about color shifts. Instead we demonstrate how pleased we are with our efforts and how we're going to strive to do better next time.