After the last post on race, I was told by a reader to “stick to the subject” (of the blog) instead of dealing with racial issues. The ensuing comment thread on Facebook was rather interesting and sometimes rather dismaying.
Racial issues and societal problems (as well as more immediate familial problems) are at the foundations of our mental health and we’re all connected…if you’ve not heard that as the crux of the message on Beyond Meds I’ve certainly not done my job. Inequality and injustice of all kinds are toxic to mental wellbeing.
Racism as a system is a source of trauma to everyone involved in the system. Inequality and injustice are trauma.
Today I’m sharing a talk from a Buddhist teacher who speaks to these issues.
We have a responsibility to deconstruct whiteness says angel Kyodo williams just as we have the responsibility to deconstruct our individual egos. Whiteness is society’s ego. I found this quite profound to contemplate. Please listen and consider.
Thank you Matthew Cohen for sharing this talk with me.
Called “the most intriguing African-American Buddhist” by Library Journal, angel Kyodo williams is an author, activist and master trainer that has been bridging the worlds of spirit and justice since her critically acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace, signaled a shift in the perception of American Buddhism as all white and upper middle class. The book was hailed as “an act of love” by Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker, and “a classic” by Buddhist pioneer Jack Kornfield.
To download this talk visit the Shambala website.
Those of us who consider ourselves spiritual must consider what that means for social activism. Too many folks want to pretend that social issues don’t matter once they become spiritual. This seems to affect people across all stripes of spiritual persuasion. Here are some other teachers who are speaking to activism while being spiritual.