There’s a meditation pitfall that’s pretty easy to fall into. In fact, I’ve fallen into it many times. It’s this idea, which we can hold consciously or subconsciously, that meditation is a solo endeavor. “I’m doing it to reduce my stress, or boost my focus, or... make myself ten percent happier.” All of that is fine. It’s actually great. But in my experience, the deeper you go into this thing, the more you see that the self is less stable and more porous than you previously imagined. And you also see that it’s really impossible to be happy in a vacuum; your happiness depends on the well-being of the people around you.
We’re going to explore this notion of meditation as a team sport today with Pamela Ayo Yetunde. She’s the co-editor of Black & Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us About Race, Resilience, Transformation & Freedom, which just won the Nautilus book award. She’s got a law degree from Indiana University and a theology degree from Columbia Theological Seminary. She also founded something called Buddhist Justice Reporter: The George Floyd Trials, which you will hear her discuss in this conversation. This is the first of two conversations we’re posting this week to mark the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd.
In this chat with Ayo, which is the name she prefers to be addressed by, we cover: a concept she calls "shock protection"; living nobly in a time of ignobility; how we can move toward civility; various interpretations of the Buddhist concept of no-self, including viewing no self as inter-dependence; and how white people in particular can maintain their focus on issues of race, even when we have the option of looking away.
Also, one order of business: We're offering 40% off the price of a year-long subscription to the Ten Percent Happier app until June 1st. Visit https://www.tenpercent.com/may to sign up today.
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