“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
- Audre Lorde
An interesting article came to our attention this week. Our super-smart sisters from across the pond at the Black Women In Science Network tweeted an article titled "The Dark Side Of Mindfulness We Need To Wake Up To" written by Ronald Purser. In that article, the writer looked at the popularity of wellness and mindfulness practices and wondered whether this is really helping us as a society. There is definitely a capitalistic side to this movement that has been exploited, and the highest critics of the wellness movement would argue that this is just a "middle-class cult" that seeks to lull us all into complacency and passiveness when it comes to impacting social and economic injustices.
If we look throughout history, every generation before us thought the world was going to hell in a hand basket. And yet, here we are. Our lives continue to evolve and the most important things like love, purpose and the ability to move forward still remain. Sometimes our narrow view of what’s happening in the world can cause us to believe that it is the only thing happening in the world, which is absolutely untrue. Where there is dark, there is light. Where there is injustice, there are those fighting against it. Where there is confusion, there is an opportunity for clarity and insight into how we can evolve as a society.
When we meditate we give ourselves a chance to see society's problems on a much larger scale, our personal view gets a wider perspective, and we become equipped with a lens that sees all possible outcomes rather than just focusing on the current state of affairs. So is this just coping with the problem rather than dealing with it?
Quite the opposite. Meditation is a lot of things, but it is not an avenue that allows us to ignore what's in front of us. Nor is it a practice that keeps us from acknowledging and dealing with life or its problems as they are. When we meditate consistently, we gradually become more present and aware of the world we're living in. We’re able to more easily parse out the necessary from the nonsense. Being present and aware we will feel more and see more of what's really going on, and can then become the change makers to fix the ills that disrupt our world. Even more, it allows us to achieve these changes without sacrificing our own peace, damaging our emotional well-being, or affecting our physical health from the negative impacts of stress. We are no Mother Teresa, but we do agree with her sentiment:
“I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”
We believe it is more powerful to promote and infuse the world with the positive. We choose to be pro joy vs. anti-[you name it] and put our energy behind that. Rather than getting bogged down and feeling heavy about the current political climate (which only continues to put attention on negative people and situations), through awareness we can combat these problems from a more positive place. By creating a lightness of being for ourselves, we are allowing the news to inform us rather than drag us down. Most of all, we grant peace permission to thrive no matter what else is going on. To reiterate Audre Lorde's words:
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation,
and that is an act of political warfare.”