The Wise Heart
Good Morning, I Love You
Oren Jay Sofer
Say What you Mean
Father Greg Boyle
Tattoos on the Heart
Mindfulness in Plain English
When Things Fall Apart
My Grandmother's Hands
Mindfulness and Diversity and Inclusion
Mindfulness practice widens our lens on life - it asks us to confront and examine beliefs about ourselves and others. Beliefs fuel thought patterns that drive behavior, theories about the world, how we communicate, relate to people and unconscious bias. When beliefs operate below the surface of awareness that include unconscious biases, they work to separate us and are destructive in a community. When we bring awareness to limiting beliefs we are given the opportunity to bring those unconscious biases into awareness where they can be dissolved over time.
Mindfulness practice begs the questions - who am I paying attention to and who do I extend care toward? We evolved from small groups of humans and still have that seed in our brains that categorizes people who are different from us as the other - often the unreal other. When we operate with a core sense of us versus them, our behaviors breed separation, inequity and discrimination. A core practice in mindfulness is called metta or loving kindness practice. By intentionally directing care toward widening circles of people we rewire our sense of us versus them - leading to a greater understanding of interconnection and less bias toward those who are different from ourselves.
Mindfulness gives us tools for applying a self-inquiry process to how we relate to ourselves and others. With greater self-awareness, we are able to honor differences in others without judging or dominating. As we notice the judging mind, we start to be able to make a choice about the habitual judgements that separate us. In this choice, we have the freedom to choose inclusion over exclusion. Additionally, as we confront issues related to our identity and our roles, mindfulness gives us some tools for self inquiry that lead to growth, learning and acceptance rather than shame, blame and resistance.
Mindfulness brings about authenticity - an alignment of our internal self with our actions, behaviors, and communication - allowing us to be who we are with self-acceptance. When we can be who we are without apology, or severe uncertainty or self-doubt, feelings of belonging increase. Likewise, when we widen our circles of care through intentional loving kindness practice, we feel a sense of inter-connectedness that fuels belonging.