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#253: An Uncomfortable (But Meaningful) Conversation About Race | Lama Rod Owens

Many of us come to meditation for comfort. But, especially for white people, right now is a time to embrace our discomfort. Lama Rod Owens encourages me to step way out of my comfort zone in this conversation, and I am grateful to him for it. Owens is the author of the soon-to-be-released book, Love and Rage. As it says in the bio on his website, his story sits at the "cross sections" of so many aspects of American life "as a Black, queer male, born and raised in the South." He was officially recognized by the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism after he completed a three-year silent retreat, during which time he says he dealt with years of past pain and trauma. As you will hear him say in this interview, he "worked his butt off to feel ok." After retreat, he completed a Master of Divinity at Harvard. I hope you get as much out of this conversation as I did. Where to find Lama Rod Owens online: Website: https://www.lamarod.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/lamarod1 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lamarod/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lamarodowens/?hl=en Books: Love and Rage - The Path to Liberation Through Anger / https://bookshop.org/books/love-and-rage-the-path-of-liberation-through-anger-9781623174095/9781623174095 Radical Dharma - Talking Race, Love and Liberation / https://www.amazon.com/Radical-Dharma-Talking-Race-Liberation/dp/1623170982 Ten Percent Happier Challenge Update We've decided to postpone the Pandemic Resilience Challenge while we recalibrate it to better meet the needs of this moment. We want to make sure we're supporting you in coping with our current social crisis as well as the pandemic. We're not cancelling the challenge, just postponing - if you signed up for updates, you'll continue to receive information. Thank you for your patience and for giving us the time to get this right. You can find updates on the challenge at tenpercent.com/challenge Other Resources Mentioned: Narrative 4 Additional Resources: Ten Percent Happier Live: https://tenpercent.com/live Coronavirus Sanity Guide: https://www.tenpercent.com/coronavirussanityguide Free App access for Health Care Workers: https://tenpercent.com/care Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/lama-rod-owens-253
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Four may be seen as the ten percent happier vodka in her there buddy? I think many of us come to meditation for some sort of comfort, but right now, especially for white people may be a good time to embrace are discomfort. In this episode, you're about to hear Lama ROD, Owens encourages me to go well outside of my comfort zone, and I am very grateful to him for, Yet Lama, rod is the author of this soon to be released, book, love and rage as says in the bio on his website. His life sits at the end, I'm quoting cure cross sections of so many aspects of american life a black queer male born and raised in the south. He was
officially recognised by the car use school of Tibetan Buddhism after he completed a three year, silent meditation retreat, during which time he says he dealt with years of past pain and trauma as you gonna hear him say in this interview he worked his but off to feel ok after that retreat. He completed a master of divinity at Harvard, and I hope you get as much out of this conversation as I did so here we go with lumber on nice to see you even under the circumstances, it's nice to see you so thanks for doing us absolutely you. I just want to point out just from the jump here that one of your requests going into this, while the only request you really had was that you were you preferred this to be more of a dialogue. Then a year, then a straight up interview might be interesting to hear you explain what Why that's preferable to you yeah? Well, I think of some poor
right now that we meet bottle conversation around difficult issues. You know, and from my perspective on coming from this experience of being a person of African discerned black American and you coming from someone who's white identify, you know, and I think This is the space that were struggling to two comments you know is too and the space where we're trying to related each other really through. You know how many centuries of conditioning you know within this country, you known as conditioning, has determine how we're relating to women other. You know, and this allotted discomfort you know and for me my discomfort arise. From the ways in which I feel as if I am often having to justify the way that I feel
As being you know, victimize by no systematic racism, and I can't speak for you as to what Europe discomfort as by wonder what your experience is moving into the space right now, Well, it's not all. There is a lot of fear and I learned about that, but there is also a lot. There are also constructive or not constructive. I'm not gonna say that fears can sometimes fear. Could we wake you up something important, but there are also some positive emotions. He who were or meant states, like curiosity and interest and a desire to use this platform to help out at a really wrenching point in American in human history, but but
on the fear I git soon. I talk about this a little bit the other day and I guess I did with seventy Selassie that that there's just a fear of the wrong thing, one end and being humiliated- and I you know I remember talking- knew a black friend of mine who was saying that every time she posts on Facebook about anything, your white friends like it, but every time she paused about race issues, its crickets. And finally, she started asking them a lot of it. Why are you not saying anything when I posed about Rachel issues and in their like? Well, because we're just afraid of saying the wrong thing, and I think that fear- I don't have survey data, but I have a suspicion, The fear that I feel is not uncommon to white people, especially right now. I didn't Later that experience from your friends, you know absolutely, and I wonder and I hear the feedback, often of while I'm afraid to say the wrong thing and
can relate to that particular who talking about issues them that particularly deeply impacted by you know, so I can say step, but when I, when we talk about raising here this feedback from my folks about well, I'm afraid of saying the wrong thing, I just I wonder but that really means like what is that? What I wonder what's actually being communicate you know what does it mean to have a fear to see the wrong thing? What is the wrong thing? You know, I think There's again now I don't want to be a spokesman for White raised right, but yeah. I know Honestly, at my own mind there things in there that are really yeah that are now I'm not proud of, but I think there's there's some resentment too you're making me uncomfortable, and I saw just reading from you about about about you ass, you wrote an essay for all of this about
And there is a line in there that really resonate with me. You wrote this I say about house protest. Is yours is a spiritual practice at EU and and you talk about how you don't see other Buddhists at these protests in and if I'm paraphrase you correctly, you you talk about how you know Buddhism has become an upper. No class white pursuit in America and that people go to the practice for comfort and engaging in protest and engaging in conversations like this is uncomfortable young and so, There is some yeah, I don't. I don't want to feel uncomfortable. I came to this meditation thing. You know, sue. All of that- and here you are you're making me extremely uncomfortable. So I hope that's a fulsome answer to your question. I think that's that's really important point out I think what you are doing is
thing really important for the folks. I follow you, you know, because I think that we're looking for white identified folks to kind of steps forward to start like action articulating these deep fears. Now and the fear you know, and the fear also is really about the ways in which I can mirror back particularly to white folks know all these things in which whiteness has condition you to bypass. You know and I believe you know if you read my work- you know that I talk about the heartbreak. I talk about the suffering that we all are experiencing right. You know, and this work is deeply Pino, influenced by the work of James Baldwin, who talked about this over and over again. What is this deep pain
that white folks are avoiding, which actually contributes to the level of violence that they you know and flicks on people of color black people in particular. You know- and I can hold that expression in these conversations like I am resources care to hold that you don't, I think, part of the fear around the conversations also that another. Why folks are just like. I don't want to make your burdens. You no more intense. You know by making listen to you know the ways in which I struggle with whiteness are the ways in which I struggled with racism, and that's ok, you now, and so I can hold that you know not, I'm not speaking for all black people. Here I am speaking from
I experience as someone who's trains really deeply to hold suffering both my suffering other people suffering. I can hold that you know I'm so that's really important to know, but we have to be able to check in with you know our black friends and to say you know what I want to share this. Is it okay? If I do this, you know cuz, some black folks can really step up and hold the space, and some of us can't you know that's a really good step. Four is asking consents you know, and then that can set makes it easier for white folks to step into this material that they're, just not sure about you, know. You know that the way some which their beliefs, their ideas, will be exposed and we need to do more than exposing of honour.
The lady work with each other, and I think my folks to do it with themselves and I think when white folks come to people of color and black people, there should be a way in which we ask. You asked consents for their openness to happen well I've somebody responses to so. If you set out our know how to get it all. Ok, if I can put this is some order here on consent. I think that's a great piece of advice, but- and I wonder if there is another thing that white people can do when approaching black people, especially at this time, which is, I made this mistake the other day with on a text chain when two black friends were, I should just launched into the discussion. Not only did I not ask for consent, I also, as we point out to me, didn't even say how are you and said that strikes me as a pretty good first step down,
you don't need consent, as somebody. How are exactly that actually is like the first step towards consents, actually is like less check in my power. You what's up for you a really powerful. You no kind of statement is our question is how's your heart. You know how's your heart doing. You know, and I can open the gates for a law you know of sharing and it can make it easier for consent to happen or are, can make it easier for you, You know to understand that maybe be right now. My friend can't really hold this thing. I'm about to share because their heart sounds really heavy emulous, so incredibly important that I think this is what practice is helping us to do,
the drought, the sensitivity you now to get some space around. What's coming up for us, we can have a thoughts. That's empathic are empathetic, so the experiences of others I heard it of empathic leap in your reference earlier and to gain Baldwin I'm trying to understand the pain that why people are trying to avoid that. May then explain some of the violence that day then act out. Can you on packs of that, because I am intrigued by that night. I didn't fall fully grasp it down here, you and I think that this is a really interesting conversation that were stepping into account I want to share my experience what it's like to hold the violence in a broken heart in Us of surviving a racist system. You know- and I think is really sure thing for you to also just
and a share. What is your relationship. Two: how black people respond to systems of racism? You know because This, like you, know the march as the protest, the riots that were experiencing its very american with no there's nothing more American and a riot. You know, but was also very american as the ways in which certain groups gets her riots and have access and space to ridable, where other groups are quite disciplined and didn't demonize for their writing. You know I saw one by one step back first in
since parliament, your genes ball, when I'm enlarging smaller than just so many other writers. You know over the past two hundred years, I would say even more really spoke about this reality of a black pain. You know, of course, of my work. I call call at Highbury, you know black heartbreak, but we all experience heartbreak, but black hard break is really rooted then this experience of a deep disappointment. You know, so I grew up with this heavy disappointment, because I was born in a system that I did not consent to You know what I'm talking socially, I'm talking about the citizens of of of power and hierarchy, discrimination, racism and so forth. Patriarchy, like I, was born in assistance, I had no say in bath and deeply condition by it and that conditioning particular talking about racism.
Has restricted many resources that are related to how I can experience health oh and well being of happiness in this life and on the spot really deeply disappointed by that and that deep disappointment gives rise. To give anger and rage. You know that systems have been created to a race to bypass, to ignore you know, and that actually intensifies the anger this this this. This, like feeling of being grace that ignore you know, and so am I reminded of DR king. You know in a speech called the other America that he offered and I think one thousand nine hundred and sixty eight, where you talked about
rights are the language of the unheard you know, and I that really holds my experience right now. You know looking out into the world for me when I see people out and an act, and I come from active as well right now, so I I've been in a lot of organizing. You know and community working in an end. So when I look at the rise, I see people expressing their hurts. You know within the system that actually cannot hold their hurt, the heartbreak or their anger. So that's my experience right but what is your experience of all this? You are. What is your reaction to everything now just share. I'm still curious about this notion that the
racism. That courts is often unseen but definitely seem to through our culture is causing white people pain that we don't want to reckon with then makes everything worked out. I want to interrogate that, but in terms of what we're seeing on tv just to clarify your quick in about what how I'm reactor to it are you are you asking how my reacting to the sea We are seeing on tv of civil unrest. Let me let me just actually clarify that more because there's something happening and there end the conversation now, you know is the ways which the sharing from black folks becomes as intellectual thing that why folks went to analyze and get into you know and some of the worst curious interrogate. You know those are those, can we really harmful words when someone has shared something is really deep in personal.
Triggering you know, so I, when I'm sure you know I really appreciate is you know, and I love to hear how people are feeling when I'm sure you after I shared something you know, and I love to check into how I'm feeling- When someone else share, something is really vulnerable. You know so I guess the question now is not what you think, but how do you feel right now like? How do you feel When I get anxious deserts serve both in my chest, so I definitely feel them.
And then you're right? There is an urge to intellectualize there's some questions. I had events and yeah your point about curiosity and interrogation lands. Well with me. I I definitely here that, because that's going on for me to you And for me, when I check in with my body unjust, since in my heart rate, he'd know has has increased because I've entrance to this really vulnerable place. You know, and it's not that I don't trust you really not the case. I so much of what I do is about being vulnerable, and I can hold that, but my I think I fill things I d, I think it's because of you know the risks than taking. You know to ask you.
Check him with her feelings and the ways in which I've had to survive retaliation. You know because- what are the expressions of of whiteness and why supremacy is that? I think why folks are trying to bypass the feelings. You know TAT S actually bypass the body. You know and trust. And they had to stay, you know in what I called analytical mines. You know, instead of touching down into the feeling body of these experiences, you know, and that keeps that keeps us riding above the waves of oppression you know, but for people who hold power within systems of repression, no, you can ride above it. If you can't Phil. If you can't, if you can't feel my pain, then you know you're not gonna hurt me disrupt the systems that perpetuate the pain.
So even for you right now, after having done the amount of work that I know you ve done on these issues, thinking talking engaging your heart rate is evaded having this conversation with me and this not in I also want to point has not overwhelming you know by. I can notice that I just notice it you know it's not distracting is now causing the shutdown are to back away upon just noticing in that's all I'm doing just noticing. You know that think the problem is sometimes we notice and then we get distracted abide and then the distraction, Easy us into shutting down and backing away from the conversation when, instead, we should be leaning, more insolent right, you know, and the thing that also happening is that there's trust this building between
in us right now, because you ve been willing to engage. You know. I really appreciate that the work that you are doing right now. You know there are these subtle experiences of whiteness of white supremacy that refuse to be name and so many of these experiences are rooted within the body and such a name to notice. It really begins the work of divesting. You know from whiteness and white supremacy and that's incredibly hard work. You know this is really uncomfortable, so I just want to point out that this is part of the work like we have to.
We have to discuss sensor comforts and then allow discomfort to be censured. You know in the discussion and that disk everyone's uncomfortable, that's the thing people I don't know of any one who enters into this dynamic space, a conversation around these issues with the sole impact on our lives. I don't know anyone who doesn't experience really strong, intense discomforts. I think we have to own it and embrace it. I'm an asked this question in the old aware of the fact that maybe it's somewhere in the neighbourhood of being too intellectual than I do notice as
pay attention to my mind body as you're talking, you ve done this a couple times where you ve said nice things about. Thank you for doing this work thanks for engaging, and I am aware that there is this. I've heard it described, trend among white people doing this work, and I see it in my own mind as I as I've city limited extent that I've engaged in this work cookie seeking white people looking to feel like a good wife Radford, doing this work and looking for the praise- and I could see the dopamine am I hit go off in my own mind when every time you say something like that, and you know why. I just wonder if you see that arise and in the work you have done over the years on this in this area. Absolutely I complete We agree in now, and I have colleagues who refuse answer light to offer appreciation
an attack should acknowledge the work. You know the white people doing these conversations I get where people coming from, but I think in this moment where my experiences I'm experiencing appreciation. You know for this work in a desert ass. It doesn't take Aren't you for me and my thoughts, I'm not this one bring any experience, I'm having in particular by unjust, just noticing. You know the level work that you're trying to do, and I just want to point that out. But having said that, I also sage who is that like- and this is also the minimal, as well. This is just the beginning. No that like this is good, but there's so much more work to do. You know, because the ways in which we condition
particularly under within systems of power and privilege. It's it's elusive, reconditioning, extremely elusive, so you may you may have it here, but it's gonna like skirt away. Hide away and other things. You know, and we have to be vigilant. And for me the vigilance is rooted within just always dropping back into my body or over and over again Larry. My body tell me what's happening: what's going on where's, my fear, whereas my discomfort, you know, whereas like the tendency for me to shut down? I can feel that my body, you know I can stay open to it. You know, and for wife's really wanting to have this conversation and one to understand you have to be in connection with the body, the bodies telling you you know what
going on you know, if you dont, halt space for the body, then you your minds, the mental and a little experience will begin to shut the body down. You know because its unsafe, you know you have to understand- the body tells the truth. You know and in the mind comes into says: no, we can't handle that true. You know in many ways the mind is the enemy of liberation. We know particularly untrained mind you know, so I say all that to say: please continue that. I appreciate it, but please continue to be uncomfortable and I can hold that. Don't take the cookie and go back to watching Netflix, yes, Dracula message received
Let me ask you the question that I fail to ask my friends on text changing other day and I'm curious about me. You talk a little bit about how you are in this moment, although that was ten minutes ago, or something like that, and so it may change, may have changed and everything's changing all the time, but generally. Making weren't to state the blazing the obvious in the middle of a really tumultuous Timon, and I ask you what or we began rolling in how you are, but I wanna hear more now, how How are you taking all of this? In you know in a really basic level. My heart is broken and when I say broken heartedness again, he knows us a new talked about earlier, it's about the steep disappointments and am disappointed again
and because we still have to do these things to be heard to be seen, and I am even more disappointed because, where, at the same time still stroll through a pandemic and a pandemic that is disproportionately affecting alive people of color, particularly black Americans. You know so not only do we are we fighting for our lives. Socially. They were fighting for our lives medically. You know, and that's supposed the sun that, in my experience we ve always been
from the very moment you my ancestors were introduced into the american contacts are slaves we ve just always been fighting for a lives and fat is a kind of trauma that justice pass from generation to generation, and so also what I'm seeing is the expression of trauma. You know that has not been taken care of when which is hard to take care of me. Trying to five zero life in a system that actually wants to annihilate here. Like racism is a system that's about annihilating people. Erasing people are racing. No white supremacy took very relaxed,
it is also about the same things about annihilating people rights. Why supremacy doesn't care about anything, including why people know why supremacy is about power? It's about disconnection. You know miss about distance is about this embodiments you know, and so were all strive. You know, but it's white folks who have to do the work as I'm doing whiteness, because I've not been conditioned as a white person. I have experiences of whiteness at experiences of being in a relationship with white people, but I do not have the experience of being conditions as white within the american contacts. You know whiteness as well courses different across,
the world in different countries, different ethnic and cultural and national new context, but in America whiteness is very specific condition that only white people can disrupt through that through their divestment in over this neo comes in Greece, which brings me back to another question. You know which is like how you know. How do you feel right? How do you really feel about what you're saying you know so many thing here we know just express them in other space is open I will first and foremost when I look at that video. I feel more, anger, and when I to the best of my
abilities as human being make the empathic leap into the shoes of a black person watching that video. I think about the trauma that you describe the driver four hundred years, the trauma of or four hundred one years and yes, and how that all gets activated. I feel uncomfortable because I know that Do we really have to have these conversations, and I need to have a convert I've responsibility to have the conversation. Ah, human human level, with the people in my life, Don't share my whiteness and also probably because that's
Then they haven't gone well. Well, that's not really true I'll tell you there's one the one experience that I had when I was a kid I may tell you. Disease varies and I am very reluctant to share with you can in part, because it's embarrassing is probably the most embarrassing. This ever happened me, but it also in part, because I very aware- and I did talk about this other day with seven eight- I very reluctant to put because it's embarrassing is probably the most embarrassing. This ever happened me, but it also in part, because I very aware- and I did talk about this the other day with seven eight- I very reluctant to put black people and the position of comforting white people written you ve got enough that's going on. Do you don't need to know what it said say the other day in our part, gas are posted there. The dish said something like don't. You know, like sometimes by people, feel forced to play. Mammy right.
But I'll tell you this because you're asking me how I feel in this is coursing through my body in an mind as every time I have this conversation and I'm only of only really come to terms with it recently and I don't have come to terms with it is the right expression, but maybe it had become aware of the continuously recurring role it plays in my psyche recently when I hand, or something like that, I was I Grubbin Newton S, choosing which is not far from where you are right now in Boston in the northeast or section of Boston, and it is a leafy suburb
but it also is actually an earth, certainly was when I grew up quite diverse but diverse in a pre pc and just post Bussing crisis Boston. So for those unfamiliar with the buzzing crisis, there was a move to desegregate Boston schools by bussing, black children into white neighbourhoods and vice versa, believe and caused. Its civil unrest slash a riot ongoing upheaval. So I was not sentient at that time I mean I was. I guess I was technically sentient, but I wasn't watching the news. But that was the environments in the eighties and the in the seventies and eighties. I'm gonna Elementary school, yes seventies. Mostly so this stuff is happening. But so it is diverse in my neighborhood there's kids bust in from the city,
neighbourhood, the resort of middle class, upper middle class houses and also housing project by it wasn't diverse and attaching feely way was diverse and, like everybody made fun of everybody else, so jewish Now you ve made fun for that. You can make fun of being here. Our asian or hispanic, and I was part of a crew, and ass. I have this memory of being part of a group of kids that was bullying. Other kids and I say this as a kid who was bullied and did bullying so that that's a big dynamic in my mind that actually and we were bullying. I think we we bullied many kids, but one day a pack of us were bullying a kid who is half lack, half, white and and remember
the thing that happened, but it wasn't good and by pulling out I mean we physically tiber we're just taunting. Am I m. The memories are all very foggy. What happened next was that we got in trouble, but though the story shook out was that I was really the only one who got in trouble is my memory of it, and I remember the technical details. I was a little kid. But I remember feel like I was only want to get in trouble. I was the one who got caught called the principal's office and it became a big deal, a really big deal. I don't know if I was suspended or what, but he was. A big deal in the school and in between the two families in there is real. Reconciling that happened, but I felt both rightly accused wrongly accused said that mix for me has been very difficult to deal with. Where I felt yeah. I was part of this, but I also want to
that and also there was a lot of stuff allegations level that I didn't think we're were true anyway, I'm getting to into the details here, but I was very activated by this and I felt deeply ashamed and so every time I have a conversation like this that danger alert, get sent up for me in a very big work. Long answer to your question is: well that's important having that's like. I think we all carry things from our childhood. Nowhere conditions these experiences in childhood. That actually begin to impact our development and are adult years, and these things come back and they like they impacts our able to relate to folks Tell this thing happened to me when I was twelve or thirteen or fourteen, and guess what happened. I can't do this thing right now. You know. So that's really important. You know to know the kind of put out there, you know: n, n n. I appreciate you showing you know
opening up, you nervous. I think we need to share stories like this. You know and I share some of us just familiarly stories in my writing. You know in the books I write articles and talks, you know because, important that we know where people are coming from. You know. I think I think there are like those like two big things. You know that I think is the point the point out. Pressing wine is there's this practice thy develops. I don't know I didn't. I don't think it in told me are taught me, this is something that just kind of came up with was that you know I started thinking about all the difficult situations of how with people in life. You know Just- the arguments disagreements, whatever the drama and I started thinking, particularly after I started practicing Meditation was that got. I wonder if this person You know that I had to struggle with
I wonder if they were struggling with something else at the time, and I wonder if our conflict was really about us, or was it really about something that fear working through in a moment just kind of blue my mind open. You know I hold me to have this practice of saying you know what you know, maybe people or doing that They know how to do in the moments you know, even if it's difficult, maybe this is the best that they can do, and how can I actually bring some empathy to this, where it's not so much about me, but also about the recognition that people are struggling with whatever limited resources that they're working with in the mall, You know, and I think we all carry these hidden stories around, but we because we don't know stories about each other. We just make things up. We just we're like all that that person is, you know, they're just like hard to deal with
instead of saying. Oh, I wonder if this person survived abuse growing up. I wonder if this person had enough of love, in their life, I wonder if this person's ever experience of being marginalized are raised and that pain thus accumulate. From that a razor, maybe they're just really struggling to be, the fat and may, and that makes it difficult for them to be in relationships with. Maybe me that softens the heart so much you know, but we don T stories enough. We don't tell these stories of the time and I was a teenager. I got into this this travel and this thing has stayed with me. My whole life- and this is why so difficult for me to be open and vulnerable about these issues is why things don't go well for me, big sundry, living that trauma from something from another
you know and that's. Why won a really like point out all the listeners too, like we have to take time to tell stories. You know, like storytelling? Is such an important part of you know liberation you know, There is an organization called narrative for you which is a non profit and they teach they go around teaching storytelling. You know that the schools and me organization that went through a training with them a couple years ago and you go off no and you set with someone tell each other stories about your life. And so simple That's so revolutionary to tell a story. You know, I think about all the you know the protests, particularly
You know that make Amerika great again. Folks. Do you know? look at the protests that they during earlier in the debate on the pandemic, taking guns around and light disrupting all the stuff complaining about how me to open up on one hand, I can just shut down and say you know that it is, you know, which is what I think a lot of us particular. Maybe listening to this part, CAS wanna say even though these people were Eddie, it's by think the harder path and more liberating path and more compassionate path is to say our tourist reflect or to wonder or wonder. The pain at their experiencing that drives them to be out in public during a pandemic. You no whining us to open up
you know, so they can get access to more resources. I want, I wonder what pain drives them to do, that you know ends. Sometimes I wanna hear those stories you know. Sometimes I don't and that's ok as the same with love with black folks and marching, and you know and and demonstrating right, it's like as white folks. I think it's important for you all to say. I wonder what would drive black folks out into the streets like this. You know like why. Why risk so much to do this, you know like. Why is that so important? You know and I can open up a gateway of a lot of material, but that's going to again, iris touching into the body and being with discomforts. You know you know, and I love you know what seventy.
You know was shared in the seventies. Also, you know a dear friend of mine as well. Why don't talk to his much? I could use some of her wisdom sometimes now by you know, it is important to point out that, like I think, people of color and black people, indigenous folks as well, are put into situations where we have to do emotional labour for why folks, in order to survive spaces in order to get the resources that we need. You know, and this is something that we have to do as a survival strategy and there so that we have to be. If we have to be aware of that, you know, and but for me in this moment I have full agency over the emotional labour than doing from myself and emotional labour them offering you.
You know I'm not being forced to do anything. I'm doing this also because I am really resource right now, which means that light I'm really my body and taking care of myself. My heart is open and not tired and that resentful I'm holding space for everything you know and that helps Menteur to offer consent, and in doing this you know and again this is something that we have to ask folks before we have these conversations or your resource enough to do this, you know, or do you think if you have to do this, because there is a freedom of being barred from getting resources that you really need
Well, I'll just tell a quick story to you know just gray, and this is in love and rages in my next book. I told the story about can a growing up. I grew up in the South and North Georgia and still a lot of clan activity lot of like white supremacy activity, especially now in these trompe but I was raised to speak to everyone, and so, when I say speaks everyone we had to acknowledge everyone. You know I'd acknowledge knowledge. You know why people by people any people, you know, but we especially how technology white people You know because that was you know a generation or thing that was passed and generation.
So generation, because my ancestors knew that if they didn't acknowledge white people, that that could put their lives in danger you know we will be labelled as being I don't know rude, you know, and that kind of rudeness really costs by people all over the country, but especially in the south. It lives. You know that it back. I began a lunching for by people. They didn't recognize. Why people you know, and so that spend something that I have been really consciously working with that conditioning that I have to acknowledge why people, because they have a right to here hear if I don't acknowledge them are, do work for them or do emotional labour anything for them than I. My life will be at risk. You
and now I dont think that, like my life is at risk, I do think that sometimes, if I don't acknowledge white people in certain spaces, then there are sources they get restrict it. You know I saw that an active Gimme A too in my time in graduate school, where it's like all like white whiteness, has to be recognised as a black student or as a black academic. I actually, you know, I'd their resources that get withheld. Because I'm seeing as being rude as we would say back home and seen as being uppity, you know, I dont know my place and that second saying that a lot of white people carrying around like black people have a place and they d have a right to do certain things like they don't have a right to be marching and demonstrated
you know they don't have a right to that, that's less than their place. They should be. They should go back to their place, which is being silence a race marginalize, because that helps me to remain comfortable about. My situation and my position, Albion, whiteness, you know- and I think that something that we have to do you know my folks have to talk about, You know, maybe the the negative feelings and negative reaction towards black people out on the streets is really about the ways in which pushes up against the conditioning that that, like people are stepping outside of the place where they ve been puts- and they need to go back You know- and I know you know- lots of false loved society. Doktor king in Doktor king was vehemently peaceful means and non violent protests up into the data that he died You know, you know he was getting more radical lies, but
so again and a huge dislike. Yes, I will always be about non violence I am also about black people being heard and seen, and sometimes a riot is how we have to be seen. And heard you know, and he was so so against this. This idea, the like. You know, maybe we should just wait. You know like maybe nobody, maybe black people, she just wait and stay in their place and things will get better overtime. His vehemently against that as well. You know like us. Waiting was just another tool by why supremacy culture to keep like people and place. You know Yes, I'm me, that's a lot of rigour,
and saw again like my question, is how do you feel you know? What are your feelings now? How are you feeling where you out in your body idly actually telling that story? mitigated my anxiety markedly. I, the buzzing in my chest, has diminished in or or maybe I'm just bypassing and and reverting to the intellectual and ignoring the body led to one or one or both of those things is happening. Answer your question. Add also just I notice, because I'm a trained interviewer in your asking me to interrupt those patterns ma I have it, is I heard three questions I'd like to follow up try not to revert to the intellectual,
so yeah there's a lot going on. In my mind, it's interesting. You know that the intellect is: where is a safe place that we can retreat into to bypass the experience of the body you described that before, as being a part or a hallmark, NOME whiteness based on what why's that a white thing or is it not just a human thing? Why? I think it? I think, on the level Yes, it is human absolutely, but there is a way in which whiteness demands this embodiments. You know and saw the intellect is where one goals when one is disembodied, you know so to return back to ban Are actually means that you have to like grapple with the love of trauma from condition whiteness
you know, and so when I you know what have had these conversations with rifles, particular intellectual white folks, you know my folks with following and power, you know, and all that you know the intellect is: where is a really safe space? Do you not intellectual where I can go as well, but because of my practice, you know meditation lifeless practice I oh, that, like my work, is as much as possible is coming back to the body over and over again. Knowing that, like the intellect, is something that's really importance, and I need that by has not actually going to help me work through the chair, my my body. You know in the wilderness and my body, you know em the easiest way, for, I would say, like white liberal folks system. Move and shoe the intellects? You know that can be really quite harmful, particularly if you're, in a conversation with so much talk about feelings and
been saying. You know I'm being in the body and then the response is very like analytical. You know, you'll is what I think. No words like phrases like that. This is what I think, or I'm curious about, that it's it's it's not authentic. So the conversation you're no longer communicating you know like if the if the conversation is about the filter, experience of the impact, of oppression and privilege. Then you have to stay within the language of of that felt experience you know, and so, when some leaves that level and goes into the intellect Oh and not skilfully, going incidental, like those, we can go into the intellect to get perspective on what the body is doing and how we're experiencing things, but we have to return back so much. Talking about that. I'm talking, I am not talking about going in and out to get a deeper awareness of unjust, I'm talking about escaping the whole thing.
Moving on to the intellect suggesting that, because he at that level of communications, just too much, I can deal with it feel like you're, describing my conversational, the dial forever I think it's a really good point, I think, is a really good point. I can I interviewed people. I mean this again part of my training about hung about this package for SAM hanging about thirty years of being a journalist all over the world interview people in all sorts of horrifying situations, my survival mechanism is. Keep it keeping the intellect Ottawa. It's not gonna help me right now to feel everything your feeling of this is the story after yourself, to the extent that I was even aware of it, I gotta get
the sound bite, and then I gotta get ready for tonight's news act when and if I am over well with emotion, I can't function so I guess the whiteness you describe you're, the Disan body meant you describe on steroids. Well get. Thank you bring up. Something really interesting is that we can sleep, professionalism and whiteness together. That think that spend a thing for professionalism has been a really interesting cover for whiteness. You know this course meant something has been used against me inside all like right. You should be more professional, you know, and I have had to You know, use my aunt relax to interrogate facts because that's important to go back in Sudan's reluctant to say what do they mean by tat. You know, does it mean to be professional in IRAN. He about so many folks
that I know you know you talk about hair in the blue. Community like the ways in which our hair is policed and professional space. You know, I'm not thinking about some the story. We ve been hearing over the past couple years, particularly where students in high school students go to school and they get suspend it in a black satin, suspended for having you know. Dread logs, o, F rights and people say well snap professional so the school environment and, that's frankly, just a cover for wine ass. You know your hair makes us feel real uncomfortable as not in line with our standard of what means a similar within a system that we dominate more.
Conversation with La Murat. After this better help offers licensed professional councillors specialised in a wide array of issues like depression, anxiety and grief conduct. With their professional councillor in a safe private, online environment. It's a truly affordable option and listeners can get ten percent off your first month by going to better help dot com, slash happier fill out a questionnaire to help them assess your needs and get matched with the counselor you'll love. How would you feel if I asked you a question right now? I don't want to flirt, but I have a question. I like no go up, You mentioned that the title of your new book. I think it's an excellent title and it's very intriguing- and I see these two things coursing through this- I'm rotation one more than the other Franklin, but I'd like to hear, but both
love and rain. I don't see that much rage filled me like you're, not an disembodied, where he no reasonably disant passion. It did dispassionately pointing out in what you have experienced in what black people having learned in this country, but I guess I projector rage onto it, not Iraq, as you are, who you Orban, because if I was feeling I would feel re right right and then I see this incredible generosity like when you described. Can I look at these people who I might disagree with and think what stories did they have? That would motivate them to do this. Whatever it is, their doing learn disagree with run. So I see this combination that you ve daftly Eve paired these two human capacities in the title.
Of your book. So I just love to hear you say more about them because it seems deeply relevant in everything that's gone before it and our conversation yeah. Thank you for that question is very full. This offer there's a lot and that question that once a dress, I The first thing I want to just touch on in your sharing. As you know, the statement of you know, I'm I'm sorry not! exact words, but something along the lines of like I'm, protecting my rage or how. I think you should fill on Sudan, how you feel better. I would feel how you re, how yeah exactly you know and that's something that, like I've, really struggle with you know where I've been in conversations with wife, I'm not saying it's happening now, I'm just saying and other conversations where it's been like you know, there's a questioning actually of my.
Access, because I am not an and performing rage and anger and the conversation and so people look at me and they say in particular from why people in some sometimes like people's wells. Like are you really struggling with this things you know you really. Are you really oppressed? Are you really it's? My racism is really an x, various because you don't sound like an thats, does that's the statement. You don't sound like fill in the Blake why you don't sound like you're victim you- don't sound like you, you know experiencing This is an you, don't sound like you now that is one of the most disruptive things you can tell someone particular someone who looks This is and survivor heard from something really intend to save. Well, you don't sound like you survive that you don't sound like a victim of sexual assault.
And size. One point that out, you know, because in so much of my experience is always being told how I should feel is then you get the insult of the. Actually enduring whatever you endoored and on the injury of being told that you're not performing it well enough exactly and then your credibility is actually compromise because you don't fit the perform activity that someone's actually Expecting you know just for the record, I wasn't driving at that. No, no, no, no I'll live completely Like I didn't go out at all, but for for the listeners, I think this is something that we can learn from You know what I see I hear it all. I I've done that before alike, but I'm talking having
Our relations are seeing something in your on in the media about someone talking about surviving something in a thought. Sometimes pops up and girls while they don't seem like you know they actually experienced this thing. You know, but you know so now, I'm going back to the book, yes, love and rage. I started with the title of the book before I a box I just felt like the title, the pairing of of these things, really began to drive the contents. Can I get the subtitle two important love enrage the path of liberation through anger? Yes, through anger through there That's the key through I'm, not bypassing the anger, I'm going over and are going around it about going through because going through it is when we actually begin to understand what anger is and how to use anger.
You know my for anger to have agency over us, but for us to have agency over the anger fast. The key! That's that's! The heart of the book. Right and so I've had to kind of put myself on the line here like I've, I've used myself to really talk about how I've worked with anger, and this is also what the book about the book is really just let me repeat now am I relationships of anger and all the practices that use so worked with anger right and so over the years I've been you know, roughly I've been practising meditation for about twenty years. I started a mindfulness and they got into Buddhism, but I've done incredible work to cultivate the spaciousness around my anger and my rage around all my her. Actually
right, you know, and so there is a sense of agency over what I experience and my say ages, again. I say there is a sense of space around what arises from me. You know of mentally and physically there's a space when I am in conversations like this, I am speaking from the space, but the material that the speed- holding is informing the conversation. So I know like in this. I know them frustrated and aims in a rage and traumatized and herds and hopeless, like all of that, you know, but I'm holding it. You know Love is important here because love is the the strategy I'm using to keep the space open and while for me, as an expression of acceptance I am accepting without judgment everything
those arising in my experience and that acceptance helps me to disrupt the ways in which I am a clean. Two things coming up the ways in which I may fall into the narratives around the material is coming up. And the less clinging I can do no more. Equally, it is that the space around me around the material stays open or rather is more likely that I can remain aware of the spaciousness around the material. It's coming up. You know and that's how I able to move to the world and has taken almost twenty years of practice to do that. You know something when they say, oh, my god, twenty years, but we have to understand this is like there was life and death for me. Being contact around my emotions and the charm and the heartbreak felt like destiny. I'm talking about being slightly teens and my twenties will just so so so much suffering
and so when I started this path of meditation, I was was incredibly difficult to do this. It was incredibly difficult to sit and watch. My anger you know. I didn't really believes that I had agency over any emotion, specially anger. You know, but the more you sets the more you why the more you began to understand that, like you know, thoughts and emotions they're, just there just things, there is the other experiences passing through the mine passing through the body in other, like Klaus, passing through the sky. You know they're, like waves like rising from the ocean. You know that the waves don't overcome the ocean fetch some half full
right. The Klaus can overcome the sky, even though its overcast, the sky, is still, you know their and spacious and boundless, and the clouds or just a temporary experience, So that's how I relate to the material. In my mind, this is this is what gives rise to the relationship Levin rage and might be useful to point out that, as far as I know, the work that you just described, which you pretty incredible, you can't do this work, if your disconnected from your body, yes, gas and I wanna. You know just your point out something to which is that your offer, our bodies have very different narratives. You know, simply means that like well, have different levels of trauma you can go in our bodies and.
This kind of work of bringing attention back to the body can be quite dangerous for many of us, and so I can definitely. Finally self, in a line of of teaching where I'm over, emphasising the importance of the body and maybe making statements. They say you know you can't possibly be well. If you can't pay attention to the sensations of the book, You know, I don't want to see that you know, because it is, it will be really difficult for many of us to do that, but what I do want to say is that we have to at least acknowledge the body in the practice you know I may not be able to get into some stations by need to at least have a practice that says you know what I have a body, and this may be all that I can do and the practice and that's and that's enough- and I want us to to go
who were ads or rather go to what's appropriate for us in practice and work that space you know. So if you have two meetings in space outside the body because a trauma that's the space, you gonna have to work then, and you can experience a lot of benefit from that other people can go deep into the body. You know, because the experiences of trauma you know, maybe lesser, you know or non existent. You know and that's wonderful too you know, so we have to all do the practice where we're acts you know, and I think sometimes as meditation teeth as you know, tickly mindfulness structures, which a lot of photo listing in who do identifies my from his you know and also yoga folks, unama, yoga teachers well like I think. Sometimes we have to be really careful about
teaching from where we're at so. For someone who has a really great relationship with the body, we have to be very careful about saying and making no statements about. Okay, if you're, not where I met the unite during the practice or you're wrong. It outside dont want to say that I want to say that whatever, wherever is appropriate for you to practise that's right for you, that's appropriate for you, so you know I love and rage is the same thing. It's like. Yes, I've done this incredible work with anger and rage and disappointment and heartbreak but I want you to start where your hat and the book has a lot of practices healthy, store where you're out and this is the kind of book that wanted to write. I didn't want to just talk about anger right.
Went to give you practice is to work with anger. You know in the book and you just pick the practice that is appropriate for where you're out and that's it and you work it. I experience you know, experience in a credible manner. Spaciousness like this, I'm not being arrogant, I'm just pointing out. Something is really my experiences like you have a lot of freedom. You no books have done this incredible amount of work, not just in my fulness meditation Buddhism Bud the difference you know, traditions and many ages, spiritual images and so forth, and all that work comes together, so I can be in this time in its place in his body.
To be in a pandemic to be an uprising to be an economic collapse and be in political turmoil and just actually be able to be o k o k is such a strong place. For me, you know it's not about being great son about being good, are super fantastic him of that is about being. Ok in ok is about being being in place that I can like manage. What comes up for me, and that's all, that's all I'm trying to do at this all we should be doing is having the practice to manage what comes up for us. You know to be with it in a way that makes sense for us in a way that helps us experience, safety and choice, and that's it. That's all. I wanted the practice for everyone,
and whatever comes from being. Ok, that's great if you're happy, if your joy for anything that comes from that is wonderful, Absolutely but just being okay. Saw. Is I've lost my ass to be okay and I'm so grateful for it at first in my ass to be ok, it's pretty good title four like dont. Still that that's my problem is that of the illegal immigrants
May I ask you one last question or just have one last dialogue around someday. I am sensitive to your time, but- and I am asking this from a position of whiteness of being white, I think for me it is possible that we will go through this period of time as we ve gone through other periods, where race become salient in the popular consciousness and I will lean in and engage and then some other story come along and capture our attention and I will have the luxury of disengagement. I'm not walking around with black skin and therefore don't have to be thinking about it all the time. I worry about that
I don't know why I did. I just wonder if any of that, from what any of that provokes for you and any any thought you would have on how to stay engaged absolutely. And for me, I'm just used to that this. That really like a new thing for me that we have a short attention span, particularly if you're someone who doesn't necessarily have the same experiences of an as another group, and of course you know, of course we can get a strike, the starting about other things that are much more pertinent for us right. I think that one of the things that we can do is again, I believe, in the relationships, and I think Issues are the key to having equitable society eighty and culture in the long run, and so we have to stay. In relationship to black people
like I stay in relationship to my emigrant friends, because I want to stay connected to issues that immigrants are experiencing in his country and so with wife what you have to stay? relationship you have to be in the lives of Latvia, Zena Vanessa. Another particularity of whiteness and those countries that light there are many white people who will never have a significant relationship with someone of any other race. You know not just black, like any other races of the way in which you can cocoon yourself or isolate, yourself within white spaces, which is a privilege that people of color do not have people who say all you know, but like there you know these black neighborhoods jewish. They were heard that people can, I say, Are you there? You know, but you still have shoe you still surviving within a dominant culture,
whom you rely on for resources. So even then we have to go outside of our communities and others spaces where we're not reflected in but again contravene relationships with people were different than you know coworkers that many of us have their inner neighbors. You know oh whatever it may be, and just like learning how to have conversations to check in like how're you doing is again such an important. Arthur, and then you you know like you, even if the new cycle change You know that, like your friends are still struggling with this issue and you stay connected and the more you stay, connected the more even it develop care, love, compassion for fear of friends, and you start having this personal emotional connection, not just to them too, but to what their struggling. You know, and I think another thing we have to do is educate ourselves.
We have to read it now we have to in oppositely in America. You know we have to. We have to understand how America was and how America perpetuates itself to really to understand what's happening now, you know a thing that were experiencing from politics to the demonstrations that economics to the pandemic. Nothing's random. You know nothing chess. This very little. That just happens. There are systems in place there. There are things that have. You ve been going on for centuries. They have made it possible for these things to the police things to be right now. We have to study that, in a lot of it is based on race. You know we are you that, like all raise is no race, was over when
Obama got elected, you know, and that was that was that line over pulse racial America now America. Now, if we're post racial America, now we would the experiencing this at all, we wouldn't be experiencing Donald Trump, especially if this supposed racial America. So we have to read and understand study. You know there are many great people who have done this intellectual work for us, this intellectual academic work to understand this is all this great work within can, literature right now and philosophical literature as well, where people have done this work for us to understand how this is feeling for us in our bodies
as well as how to really undue these system. So we have to do all that and lastly, I would just say they. We just have to know that we have this ability to bypass. We have this ability to skip around and not to stay focused and we have to intentionally learn how to bring our minds. Are awareness back just in our basic meditation practice reusing anchors, about bringing the attention back to the Inca over and over and over again. In the same way, we bring our attention back to the social reality of whether were living we know about. America or other countries right, wring our attention back over and over again, you know
again, if you gonna, do that you gotta actually at the same time, be disinterring comforts. You know, and that's part of the price of the ticket is actually coming back into an bracing discomforts as this place from which realization and awareness emerges from about relationships and how relevant together ass a society. Would you argue theirs? to an individual white person. Her not. There is no question in my mind, at least it embracing the discomfort of having these conversations, keeping it alive in your own mind whether its top of the new second were not would be good for the world, but what about for an individual person- because I have this inchoate sense, this nebulous but hard torture,
late sense that actually doing this work engaging in this way, no matter how uncomfortable it is actually feels better than living in denial, but I can't wait and put it into words that it feels like there's an upside to me too, embracing this discovered, from a moment to moment life perspective. But then he that make any sense law. Absolutely. I think what you're trying to articulate is that this work helps us to be freer. You know, and that something is hard to article eight. If you actually have never had this experience of really living in the truth of reality, you know, but that freedom that that that freedom. For me, it's about authenticity, it's about. Actually,
fully acknowledging what's happening, enemy and around me and that an that's emotional labour that we're doing is like touching into that helps us to release all these hidden repress things within our experience you just fill better yet and at the same time yes is uncomfortable, but that discomfort is held by the space that begins to open up around this tensions. Repression be release no, but you have to believe in that kind of freedom through discomforts Yo, which is again this what love worries about like let's go into the discomfort in order to get free, which sounds really lie in a paradoxical. Oh, you know, but yet to get more, trouble to get free absolutely because we have to hurt more to heal. You know after you have to rip the scabbard. You know for the wounded.
He'll do you know whether whatever they be I'm a doctor by, like you have so, you have to experience the pain in order to understand what the pain is, and in our case we have to experience pain in a let the pain go, get it. So ass to be ok, yeah. Sadly, right Zactly, you can't let go something you have an experience, it also experience in the you have agency or written in that agency. You like. Ok, I don't need this avenue let it go, then, all of a sudden you start interacting and being with people in such a different way like you began to express liberation within a conversation with an interaction cause. You know, like you, ve exe during her discomfort and european a you know what causes discomfort and paint with an other folks you know that I'm not going to say that you now, I'm not gonna, make this assumption, I'm not gonna skip
My answer lags I'm not going to stay in my body, because this is how I'm going to reduce horn myself in for the person I'm with in this moment. Well, thank you for busting, your ass to be okay and then thank you for coming At doing, though, the labour to talk about, what's going on for you and make it a cave for me to talk about, was gone for me yeah. Thank you absolutely. Thank you again. Big thanks to Lama. Rod was sir meaningful for me, and I hope I have for you as well again check out his book. Love enrage comes out soon. It's available for pre order right now, as always big thanks to the team
that works incredibly hard to put the show together on a on a quite a quite a cadence. Now Samuel John is our lead producer or sound designers or Matt Boynton and Anya Sheet from Ultraviolet Audio, Marie Ortaliz, our production coordinator. We get a ton of incredibly valuable input from tph. Colleagues, like Jen Poyant, need tobe and Ben Rubin and of course A big thank you to my friends from ABC News, Ryan, Kessler and Josh Cohen, we'll be back on Friday with a boat. Episode and that on Monday and episode all about white people talking to white people about whiteness, which is an important thing to do so we can find a model that will soon with much more content thanks for listening
Transcript generated on 2020-06-29.