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INSIGHT TIMER PLAYLIST: Contemplation and Racial Justice

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INSIGHT TIMER PLAYLIST: Contemplation and Racial Justice

LINK TO THE FULL PLAYLIST ON INSIGHT TIMER

ANNOTATED GUIDE by Anthony DeMauro

This playlist includes guided practices and talks focused on the intersection of contemplation and racial justice. The practice of contemplation can fortify efforts toward racial justice in a number of ways. For one, contemplative practices can help one cultivate a deeper awareness of racism at all levels (i.e. personal, interpersonal, and systemic) with an understanding of the complexity and nuance in its various manifestations. Two, contemplation can nourish and sustain the work of activists by providing tools for healing and caring for oneself and one’s community amid the struggle for racial justice. Three, contemplation can help facilitate creativity, dialogue, perspective, and a sense of shared humanity, which are critical elements for the work of racial justice. Lastly, contemplative practices provide the tools for transforming one’s own thoughts and behaviors as a necessary first step toward transforming unjust systems. While this playlist alone is not a comprehensive guide or set of practices for one’s journey of working toward racial justice, it offers some useful tools.
 
The talks included on this playlist cover a broad range of themes and perspectives on racial justice, many of which complement and build on the others. The guided practices involve a mix of meditations, affirmations, movement, and creative practices that address various dimensions of racial justice.
 
This playlist is appropriate for persons of all races, and it should be accessible to all experience levels with both contemplation and racial justice work.

*Note that for ideal functionality, it is best to link to the recordings in this playlist via the Insight Timer app on your mobile device rather than through the Insight Timer website.
 
Rachel Ricketts
 
This talk introduces some frameworks, concepts, and intentions that set the stage for a journey toward integrating contemplation with activism for racial justice. Ricketts describes how one’s racial identity and positionality will require different forms of inner work, and she invites all persons to begin transforming themselves and the ways they have internalized and perpetuated white supremacist, hetero-patriarchal systems of oppression. Ricketts ends the talk by outlining her five elements of spiritual activism, which include: (1) vulnerability, (2) honesty, (3) looking at anger, (4) integrity, and (5) acceptance and action. 
Christian Howard
 
This meditation invites practitioners to set an intention for avoiding harm to others and participating in systems of oppression while practicing compassion and doing one’s best to bring benefit to others from a place of educated altruism. This can be a useful practice to begin one’s journey in working toward racial justice with a firm commitment to compassion and can be revisited from time to time as a way of checking in with one’s alignment to the intention.
Danielle YoungSmith
 
This meditation invites practitioners to bring awareness to their biases and emotional experiences related to race and colorism (bias/discrimination associated with darker skin tones). YoungSmith invites listeners to reflect on how all people may harbor racist attitudes in various ways and how our patterns of reacting to those of different races come from inherited and conditioned habits. In an effort to heal such harmful conditioning, one can bring awareness to these patterns, refrain from reacting to the arising biases or emotions, and allow the biases to dissolve so as to prevent their influence upon one’s actions and what one passes on to others.
Tracey Michae'l Lewis-Giggetts
 
This recording includes a 10-minute talk and a 10-minute guided meditation. Lewis-Giggetts focuses on the unique ways that experiences of racial trauma and race-based violence impact one’s bodily health and how specific body-based contemplative practices are necessary to process and heal such trauma. She offers a compelling story of her own experiences with racial trauma and then leads a body-based healing practice that brings attention and release to various parts of the body. The recording is also helpful for connecting racial justice work to the body, as some folks may have the tendency to mostly operate from the cognitive, intellectual space. While this practice is specifically designed for targets of racial violence, all persons can benefit from the content of the talk and the healing practice.
Beth Berila
 
This recording involves a reflection and accompanying creative practice intended to nurture practitioners through the difficult work of racial and social justice activism. Berila brings to light the lack of nourishment and barriers to sustainability that many activists experience and challenges practitioners to critically examine their habits and orientations to justice work. She also offers a fresh approach to exploring how one’s commitment to justice can be sustainable and rooted in wisdom.
Emerson Wolfe
 
This is an affirmation practice that involves repetition of phrases meant to empower the practitioner toward wise and sustainable activism. The affirmations focus on connecting to one’s community, bearing witness to pain even when it is difficult, finding one’s voice, and making a difference no matter how small it may be. Many of the affirmations involve building one’s own resilience to support justice work by committing to a long view of change, caring for oneself, and celebrating beauty, laughter, and life along the way. 
Mind & Life Institute
 
In this podcast episode, Powell addresses many roots of racism and white supremacy in the United States and describes how they have been exacerbated recently by certain prominent figures and cultural narratives. After bringing awareness to the patterns of fear and bias that have shaped our current reality, Powell calls for what he identifies as bridging stories, or stories rooted in empathy and interrelatedness that will create new cultural narratives of shared humanity, mutuality, and belonging. This recording provides a broad commentary on how we arrived at where we are today and how we might transform ourselves and our systems for a more just future.
Iman Gibson
 
This is a guided loving-kindness meditation addressing the wounds resulting from racism and injustice. The practice offers loving-kindness for self, victims of racism, perpetrators of harm, and our communities. The offerings of loving-kindness involve wishes for safety, awakening to our shared humanity, healing, and peace. It is important to keep in mind that practices like this are not meant to encourage passivity or permissiveness to perpetrators of harm, but can help practitioners avoid actions motivated by reactivity, othering, and hatred.
Skip Jennings
 
This recording is a talk, reflection, and meditation on racial justice and forgiveness. Jennings offers a unique approach to the work of justice that involves feeling the pain and disconnection caused by racism, dealing with the realities that confront us, healing our present-day and ancestral wounds, and revealing our unique callings in the movement. The practice concludes with a forgiveness meditation. All practitioners may not yet be ready or willing to forgive perpetrators of racial violence; however, the invitation to forgive can be used widely for instances of harm both small and large.
Lane Holbert
 
Despite the title, this practice does not require access to a formal labyrinth. The recording provides tips on how to construct a temporary one or simply walk in such a way that allows moving toward and then walking away from a central point. This walking practice invites practitioners to orient themselves toward justice by emphasizing that connecting with oneself supports connecting more deeply with others. While the practice may feel somewhat abstract for some, it offers a unique and ancient form of contemplative practice that could support one’s journey toward racial justice.

 

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