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Submitted by Caroline Contillo on Fri, 2/28/2014, 11:07am
We make for ourselves a safe space on the cushion to practice working with whatever comes up during our meditation practice. But as IDP founder Ethan Nichtern teaches, taking the work we've done while sitting out into the world is the advanced practice.
Recently, at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference, several protesters (my understanding is that at least one of them is a meditator) took the stage unannounced during a Google talk on mindfulness and tech to protest the increasing wave of evictions in San Francisco. The protestors were calling attention to the fact that the very tech companies present at the conference were contributing to the displacement of many mostly low-income people. You can read one of the protester's description of her motivations here.
Whether or not you agree with their tactics, it's hard to ignore the implications. With so many people searching for happiness at work, what should we do when our workplace causes harm? How can we communicate the technique of mindfulness to everyone who is interested without diluting its rigorous practice in order to make corporations feel better about the harm they cause? Is it possible to be politically active in a way that acknowledges interdependence and brings awareness without falling into views of duality? I don't know the answers to these questions but I am glad there are people willing to put themselves on the line to address these questions as mindfulness continues to enter the mainstream.
I have an affinity for disrupters, agitators, and protesters. And I consider my own mindfulness practice a practice that disrupts my own habit energy in the interest of increasing my awareness of interdependence and impermanence. Meditation has taught me to relax my notions of what I *think* is going on in favor of resting with a larger view. It's my hope that whatever 'side' we fall on about corporate mindfulness, we might be able to embody the value of 'not knowing,' or 'no idea' and really relax our preconceived ideas about how to 'solve' anything. Are we here to fix, or are we here to help?
The practice of interdependence means really knowing in our bodies that we are not separate from that which is around us. Meditation is a start on this path, and it means having a lot of potentially uncomfortable conversations. Meditation can make us braver about that, and can teach us that comfort is not where change and growth come from. Now that the meditation challenge is over, are you ready to get uncomfortable with me?
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