Lama Surya Das – Ep. 30 – Mindful Child with Susan Kaiser Greenland

Mindful Child

Author and educator, Susan Kaiser Greenland, chats with Lama Surya Das about her book “The Mindful Child” and teaching the younger generation.

How do we not only bring old teachings and wisdom into the modern world but bring it into the secular world as well? Lama Sura Das and Susan discuss the role of family and devotion. The importance of being open to the perspective and wisdom children have to offer is emphasized. How do we teach loving kindness and compassion without raising children to be passive and without boundaries? All this and more on this week’s episode of Awakening Now!

Show Notes

01:05 – After a warm salutation and brief introduction, Lama Surya and Susan get right into the topic of bringing mindfulness and awareness into a secular education system. How do we teach our next generation the principals of the practice to bring the more peace, harmony, and wisdom into the world? We also need to remember to listen as much as we teach because young minds have plenty of wisdom to share as well.

3:55 – Susan talks about the now common practice of young adults spending longer periods of their post-education life at home. Despite the societal stigmas surrounding the practice, “Failure to Launch”, Susan and Lama Surya agree that there are great developmental benefits to the arrangement for the whole family. Lama talks about leaving home for India early on, and how it affected him. How he built a spiritual family and community while he has been away.

10:35 – More talk of how working together with and listening to the younger generation is important for everyone. How our future is interconnected and we need cooperate and work together to forge forward. Susan reflects on how older universal principals and teachings have made their way to the present. But have they been watered down and simplified too much? How do we introduce devotion without seeming hokey or losing the structure?

18:25 – Beyond just modernizing old practices, what does it look like bringing them into a completely secular context? Teaching kindness and boundaries without raising kids to be pushovers. Even as adults we need be mindful of discernment and what really matters and deliver that lesson to our youth.

26:50 – A story of the Dalai Lama visiting President Clinton and the lesson he instilled. He said to the president,” You are the most powerful man in the world and everything you do should be full of compassion and the wish to help”. How certain words can be loaded and how we should approach them in the modern world.

32:15 – One of the most important lessons that Susan has learned is concisely unpacking concepts to children one piece at a time. The usefulness in breaking things down like this applies not only to kids but to adults as well.

39:40 – How moderation and balance are as important as ever in these times of extreme views and actions. We need to apply the ABC’s of mindfulness (attention, balance, and compassion) more often then we do now. Susan explores the concept of balance further and how it is important to recognize your threshold and limits.

44:45 – Mindfulness is readdressed, Susan explains the importance of teaching the skills of quieting, seeing more clearly, and re-framing toward caring and connecting.

Susan Kaiser Greenland is a lawyer, teacher, and author from Los Angeles, CA. Kaiser Greenland and her husband founded The InnerKids Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that taught secular mindfulness in schools and community-based programs in the greater Los Angeles area from 2001 through 2009. She now tours the country showing educators and parents how to incorporate mindfulness into their teaching and development of their children. Keep up with Susan and read her blog at

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