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The Commons: Ain’t No Meditation in the Hood

And What We Can Do About That....

Practice
Abstract painting of man on bench in park

Illustration Credit: Urban City Life, Peaceful Sitting by Stacey Brown

I’m Black. Wait! Wait! Wait! Before you turn the page, just hear me out. I’m black, and when I shop in a place like Whole Foods, or as some people refer to it, Whole Paycheck, I notice a trend in the magazines I pick up in line at the checkout.You’ve seen those magazines—the ones with that porcelain person on the cover with the hypnotically kind face. Those magazines about mindful running, mindful biking, mindful eating and mindful axe-murdering (well, maybe not that one). But no matter the magazine, they address the health of Caucasians, and not the welfare of others.Yet, when I work with some of the most adverse populations, usually minority groups, no one wants to talk about a technique that was designed to end suffering.David Hilliard, who wrote the Huey P. Newton Reader, describes the considerable time that Huey P. Newton spent in jail, and how Newton learned Zen meditation to provide some relief from the conditions that accompany imprisonment. Why isn’t there meditation in the hood? Why aren’t Buddhists temples found along skid row?Adverse communities suffer from acute stress. If left unaddressed, …

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