The meditation community I was part of collapsed last year. The point of training in meditation is so our response to life is the best we have to give. This doesn’t always happen but we train in order to be of service and to unwind the places in us that hold back. The community I was part of for 15 years had grown to have a global reach but there were some holes in it.
I was helping lead a retreat five years ago and my friend was misgendered repeatedly by our teacher. I didn’t need more information. Her word was enough for me. A dismantling began within me so I wasn’t surprised when the organization came down as others spoke up. Thankfully many of us are still connecting and humbly discussing what went wrong.
Everything is Welcome
In the wake of this, we see a global uprising. Hearing all the voices that have been silenced or disregarded feels so damn good. Many have been waiting for this for what feels like forever.
Another life of mine included fighting police brutality in Vancouver. Our kids were being targeted on public transit. Racial profiling happens in Canada too…all the time. The Skytrain security guards had been given guns. This was really scary for the immigrant and refugee youth I worked with. The Youth Advocate at City Hall was suddenly fired, her office shut down and all her files disappeared. Yes they shut down an independent voice because it was challenging the power structure by speaking up and telling the truth.
The appropriate response to police brutality is action. We don’t sit around when our kids are at risk. We stand up and do everything in our power to stop it. The rage, the grief and the coming together against injustice is part of the meditative path. It is not a passive approach. Meditation develops our capacity to be with the intensity. We learn to take action in the most effective way possible.
How can we cultivate peace in the midst of so much suffering? Checking out isn’t the answer. In fact those who have the most to lose and are the most defensive actually have the most to gain by turning towards others. We don’t know what we’re missing until some person or event shows us. These are life-changing moments if we listen and look around.
Engaging is where peace is found. Advocating for my patients and raising my son to be kind are my focus right now. Children understand a lot. My son has taken an interest in the news so we discuss what he hears on CBC. The pandemic has intensified domestic abuse. Knowing this would happen doesn’t make it any easier.
Today in my clinic a patient thanked me for planting the seed and naming what was happening in her home. She found a way out of an impossible situation. There is so much strength in being seen. Meditation offers the stability to see others and notice what is going on under the surface. It cultivates the stability to turn towards.
The Body Knows
Generational trauma is real. It’s held in our cellular memory and in how our bodies respond to stress. Epigenetics have proven that we inherit the stress response of our caregivers. Tracking the body and getting to know our response to stress allows us to change how we regulate it.
By catching a familiar pattern we can choose a different response. Today I started to feel anxious. I noticed it before it became overwhelming and then engaged with curiousity. I was able to calm myself. I went down a different path and engaged in a new way. It was very liberating. Each small liberation has an opportunity to ripple out and create momentum in a new direction. This is how we create change for future generations and simultaneously heal the past.