“Believe more deeply. Hold your face up to the light, even though for the moment you do not see.” ~ Bill Wilson
In a leafy, seemingly conventional corner of suburban Essex in southeast England ordinary children are learning in the most extraordinary of ways. At her appropriately named ICU Academy, Nicola Farmer employs a series of fun and revolutionary exercises to help children assimilate information by accessing expanded states of awareness.
Teachers and experts the world over are in agreement that fun and relaxed play are critical to the healthy holistic development of children, enabling them to learn about the world around them, to interact confidently with others, to solve problems and make decisions whilst improving their co-ordination and fine and gross motor skills. Nicola’s work takes this to a whole new level. Whilst they are still at a young enough age, typically between the ages of five and twelve, when their logical minds are yet to create the barriers and limiting belief systems that hold so many adults back, and their right brains are still very active, she gently encourages them to explore life from an entirely new perspective.
During their formative, programming years children spend most of their day navigating alpha and theta brainwave cycles. This is nature’s way of ensuring they effortlessly and unconsciously learn the skills and patterns of behaviour necessary for them to adapt and survive in any given environment. They are highly suggestible and intimately connected to their internal, imaginative world. Whilst they might have begun to interpret and draw their own conclusions, they are still extremely likely to accept what a trusted adult tells them to be true. At this crucial age they are walking the boundaries of the conscious and subconscious mind. They are in a super-learning flow state.
Children attending this unique course learn to read, write, draw, successfully identify shapes and colours, complete jigsaw puzzles, and play card games. Like any other kids their age, they can catch and throw a ball, they have sack races and run, giggling, with an egg and spoon. They ride their bikes. But these kids are different, because they are able to do all of these things blindfolded.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a super power. It’s an ability. Everyone can do it. They just need to learn it.” ~ Lucie, aged 6
Using a variety of meditation and mindfulness techniques Nicola creates a safe and reassuring environment in which the children can learn and have fun. She is adamant that it doesn’t matter whether the teachers she trains have mastered the techniques the children are taught themselves, as their role is simply to guide the children to trust in their own experiences. Interestingly, when they first begin to practice these intuitive skills, many children point slightly off to the side of whatever it is they are indicating, as if there is a curve or an arc involved in the translating.
The children are encouraged to practice at home in between their sessions. Nicola tells of one child who was struggling with their maths and science homework. As soon as they put on their blindfold, they were able to complete the exercises without difficulty, seemingly able to tap into a higher, or more evolved, consciousness in order to access the information they required. The course seems to encourage effortless optimal performance and creativity. Memory, attention span and concentration improve. Learning simply becomes easier – one pupil is said to have progressed two years in his literacy over only six weeks. Each child is urged to pay close attention to their gut instinct, and is given a variety of exercises, such as intuiting who is on the other end of the telephone when it rings, and what they are wearing (which can later be verified) or guessing the colour of the next car to come around the corner. They gain the sort of inner confidence that can only come from an authentic personal knowledge that the core elements of our humanness are not restricted to what we can see, hear, touch, smell and taste, but extend well beyond the confines of time and space.
Their learning journey is profound and transformative, and on many levels. One child stopped their regular bedwetting. Another lost their stammer by the end of the training. Families are astonished and thrilled when they see their children thriving in new and unexpected ways. They have reported a reduction in tantrums and anxiety, increased self-esteem, self-respect and confidence, and have said that their children now ask more meaningful questions and seemed to develop a genuine desire to be caring and helpful. They become more respectful of others, and their relationships improve as a result. They are less influenced by peer pressure, because they feel secure in themselves and know their rightful place in the world. Crucial life skills such as intuition, empathy and active compassion become integrated as working parts of their evolving personalities, their way of functioning in the world. They flourish.
Although the children are usually referred by their parents, they are only accepted on the course if they want to participate of their own free will. They love it. They don’t question what might or might not be possible and seem genuinely excited to demonstrate their new “super-powers.” They experience first-hand the benefits of meditation, and so develop a very clear sense of themselves, and they discover the value of allowing themselves to be guided by their hearts. They are taught to seek the inherent benefits in things that are traditionally not considered to be beautiful or desirable, such as brutality, discomfort, sadness and the inevitable challenges of life. Instead they learn to seek opportunities for transformation and growth.
As each child is empowered to become more conscious in the world, so they affect a much wider community. This work offers a very real opportunity to challenge and break the cycles of inherited unconscious behaviour that have inadvertently been handed down through the ages. Imagine what impact a generation of conscious, balanced, heart-cantered adults might have upon our future.