I’m not going to the protests but I do want to contribute to racial justice and equity.
I’m not going to the protests because of co-vid 19. And because my body, after 40+ years of accumulated neurological damage from MS, can’t stand up for more than a minute or walk for more than 15 minutes without getting temporarily disabled.
Even if those reasons did not exist, I confess that I probably would not go. I have many dear friends who protest, who I admire and appreciate. But crowds and angry speeches scare me. I wonder, does protesting have any effect?
If I don’t protest, I need to find other ways to act. Recent events have raised my consciousness. Sent me seeking information, news, opinions, clarity. What is my role?
A week ago I was asked to teach a meditation at my monthly yoga Sangha gathering. I considered a meditation exploring the experience of outrage. But that didn’t seem very meditative. So I taught a meditation on “a glimmer of hope”.
The Glimmer of Hope meditation felt inadequate given the magnitude of current events.
For my weekly meditation class, I warned students via email that the meditation would engage more directly with current events than usual. (A subtle hint to not come if that’s not what you want.)
In the “Peaceful Protest” meditation, you imagine yourself standing alongside all people past and present who have stood up for social justice.
Movement and breathing steps provide the “peaceful” part.
And then you say what needs to be said, to any individual or group you want to address.
When I tried this myself, I became clear on what my role is for now and what I need to do.
When my students shared their experiences, for some it was profound, sacred, moving them to tears. For others it was a safe space for expressing anger.
The meditation definitely did not work for everyone.
The meditation was a waste of precious time for a Minneapolis resident who came home to join the meditation before going back out in the city to actually work to bring about social justice. Meditating about protesting was not what she needed to be doing.
Another participant just couldn’t get into it. And the frustration at not being able to get into it increased his frustration and anxiety.
The Peaceful Protest meditation is not for everyone.
If you’re out protesting, you don’t need this meditation. Keep up your good work.
If you’re not out doing peaceful protest, if you’re at home contemplating what you should do, then the meditation might be right for you.
If you try it and it isn’t feeling good, stop doing it. And congratulate yourself on your self-advocacy.
I am always interested in hearing about your experience.