We have been asked why it is appropriate to consider engaging in social justice as an aspect of teaching mindfulness. As our friend, author and mindful social activist, Rhonda Magee writes, “The short and simple answer is that [social] justice, like compassion, is just one form of an ethically grounded, mindful response to suffering in our lives.”
We recognize that many in our community are actively disadvantaged and encounter systems of oppression every day. These have an especially significant impact on our young people because of the additional disempowerment of children and teens in our society. Designing and implementing policies rooted in inclusive and shared power paradigms, strengthens iBme’s ability to serve more youth from vulnerable communities and to work with more diverse teachers and staff. In addition, iBme’s commitment to diversity and accessibility offers an all too rare opportunity to build understanding, connection and lasting relationships with peers across wide differences of race, gender, socio-economic status, sexual orientation and ability. By supporting young people to deepen awareness, compassion, and ethics and empowering their voices, we are investing in our collective future, one with greater liberation, justice and well-being for us all.
Ultimately, our contemplative practice shows us that life is precious, every moment. And we can experience in the quiet moments of our own minds and in the transformation we see in our teens on retreat, that under conditions that are safe, kind, and unconditionally accepting the present, nourished human heart shows up with wisdom and an unbounded ability to love.
2020 Equity & Interdependence Progress Report
It’s important for us to really look at the fact that we don’t do ‘secular’ (non-sacred, non-spiritual) mindfulness. I use the term ‘intersectional mindfulness.’ For me that means we are actually pulling from different sources to practice mindfulness. We are trying to cultivate a mindfulness that is ethically based, which actually helps us to inform our orientation towards justice and inclusivity, because we are using mindfulness to ask ourselves, ‘What’s right to do? What promotes goodness?’ Intersectional mindfulness is a dynamic way of helping us be sensitive to all the different roots of mindfulness in contemporary secular mindfulness. That’s the key to intersectional mindfulness – we make it looser instead of tighter. The looser it is, the more space it gives us to be ourselves.
– Lama Rod Owens, Lead iBme Teacher