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My Breck Story: Praying the AUM

"The religion course in fifth grade is World Religions and we focus on the five major modern world religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and also discuss Native American spirituality.  As a chaplain at Breck, I am an Episcopalian and my foundational religious experiences were from attending Episcopal camps. While I’ve been lucky enough to work with people from around the world at different Episcopal Church camps across the country, Breck is different.  We are a multi-faith school congregation of kids!  This is a much different setting, with a much different purpose.  And yet, it is important that we not just talk about religion, but immerse ourselves in the rituals, practices, and prayer forms as much as we can, to the extent we are able.

About eight years ago I was teaching a lesson on Hinduism. “Well, Hindus chant the AUM,” I said, when a fifth grader said, “I know how to pray the AUM.” I asked if he would ever be interested in teaching us and maybe even, would he teach us right then.  He agreed and a new lesson and prayer experience was offered at Breck.

Neil Leville taught his classmates that day how to chant the AUM including the proper seated position, how to tune into a mudra, and the story of his Didima (grandmother) teaching him.  Each semester, he would return to the fifth grade class and offer his prayer lesson again.  Since Neil has graduated, his younger brother Sam has taken on his teaching legacy and comes down from Upper School to share this personal prayer practice with other Breck students.

Breck is such a rich, diverse, and blessed place where we are able to embrace prayer practices of all kinds from not only our Chaplains and faculty, but students as well."

— Alexis Kent, MS Chaplain