Through mindfulness practice, we can know increasing moments of freedom within racism and despite it – a freedom that is not dependent on outside circumstances being different. This inner resource supports wise action. – Ruth King
There is no greater gift to ourselves than our willingness to be present to our own lives ~ the good, the bad, and the ugly ~ and we do this most effectively through Mindfulness or Insight Meditation.
Through mindfulness practice, we can experience both racial distress and freedom. We can become more curious about the nature of our racial disturbances by examining our habits, history and heritage. By exploring our feelings, behaviors and beliefs, we discover that we don’t have to hold on to our stories to learn from them. By allowing ourselves to be racially vulnerable, we can open to what we deeply know and need to heal. We can dissolve what's ungrieved and learn how to open our hearts again.
There are many benefits derived from a consistent meditation practice. For example, we open to levels of consciousness that lie deeper than our intellect. Our disguises fade and our aggression diminishes. Our mind becomes tranquil and more manageable, and we act more wisely toward others and ourselves. Not only does meditation decrease fear and worry, it also reduces our heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, oxygen consumption, perspiration, and muscle tension, and improves our immune system and neurotransmitter function.
Mindfulness helps us put a critical pause between our racial impulsive and often overwhelming feelings of being wronged, harmed, or threatened. In this pause, we gain perspective; we find our breath, our heartbeat, and the ground beneath our feet. We learn how to stay present without distortion or judgment, and discover through our own discernment that the present moment is worth returning to and living fully. Meditation invites us to slow down so that we can experience ourselves clearly, lovingly, and wisely.
Mindfulness meditation is not a quick fix, nor is it about denying what we feel by replacing negative experiences with positive ones. It’s about embracing the truth of the moment and discovering the liberating power and beauty of pure awareness. It’s simple and life changing.
Stillness is an act of self-compassion and self-respect. Maintaining a consistent mindfulness meditation practice is a practical way to be at peace in our own skin in this lifetime.