In my practice and teachings of mindfulness I refer often to Buddhism. One of the basic tenets of Buddhism is inclusiveness, Everything has a uniqueness but comes from the same base.
When you look at the ocean you see many different waves, currents, shapes and sizes; but they all have the same foundation and substance, water. Our foundations are all the same; we all come from the same earth, the same universe. At our very core we share the same nature.
When faced with hate, discrimination and judgment we should always remember this. We should accept that our differences make us individuals but our similarities make us a community.
Each bush in a rose garden is planted in the same soil but each one is unique. Just because one rose is different it is no less of a rose. We are all created to be who we are; if you were created to be a rose, then be a rose, accept yourself as a rose. If God created you to be gay, then be gay, accept yourself as who you were created to be. This is the how we find peace in the face of hate. This is how we stand up to it and find the path to walk on solid ground.
In the face of discrimination our first response is to cry out, to hit back and make a person feel your pain. But, even if you yelled out at the top of your lungs, for days on end their position is unlikely to change and your suffering unlikely to end.
Only through self understanding can you be liberated from this hate. If you are walking on solid ground you can't be diminished because you are comfortable with who you are. You learn to accept that this discrimination, intolerance and suppression stems from their ignorance or misunderstanding. This doesn't mean you accept it it means you just have a new understanding of it, it changes your perspective.
The most important step in overcoming discrimination is self-acceptance. If you are capable of accepting yourself and walking on the solid ground of who you are, then you can be released from the suffering that someone else's discrimination brings.
You are walking on solid ground and you are able to stand firm. When you put your feet in the right place you can stand firm in knowing you are where you belong, so Stand firm!
When you meet someone who discriminates remember, they do so because they are not walking on their own solid ground. They don't understand that we all share the same source; it's out of ignorance and a lack of self acceptance that they have this issue. They have no solid ground to stand on.
Once you have walked the solid ground of self-acceptance you lose the need to criticize and judge others. You develop compassion and tolerance for all that is. When you come to the realization that this discrimination has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them, you find compassion for the person who persecutes you. When you find this compassion you become motivated by the desire to help those who are victims of ignorance. This compassion frees you from the feelings of being violated and turns in to feelings of liberation. You know you are walking on solid ground and their judgment says more about them than it does about you, you are standing firm.
With this knowledge, you find the power within to be a person who works to transform the environment that bred this ignorance. When you are equipped with compassion and the understanding of where this suppression comes from you are motivated to be an instrument of social change. Instead of feelings of anger and hurt you are able to transform yourself, in a mindful way, to work towards a change in the collective consciousness of mankind. This is a much more productive way to react to discrimination, it may not be immediately satisfying but, in the long run, it is the one that will make the biggest difference.
It begins by making sure you are walking on solid ground and accepting who you are. You are the rose; you are who you were created to be! Stand Firm!!!
Ref: Being Peace
-Thich Nhat Hanh
‘Grief is one of the heart’s natural responses to loss. When we grieve we allow ourselves to feel the truth of our pain, the measure of betrayal or tragedy in our life. By our willingness to mourn, we slowly acknowledge, integrate, and accept the truth of our losses. Sometimes the best way to let go is to grieve.
It takes courage to grieve, to honor the pain we carry. We can grieve in tears or in meditative silence, in prayer or in song. In touching the pain of recent and long-held griefs, we come face to face with our genuine human vulnerability, with helplessness and hopelessness. These are the storm clouds of the heart.
Most traditional societies offer ritual and communal support to help people move through grief and loss. We need to respect our tears. Without a wise way to grieve, we can only soldier on, armored and unfeeling, but our hearts cannot learn and grow from the sorrows of the past.
To meditate on grief, let yourself sit, alone or with a comforting friend. Take the time to create an atmosphere of support. When you are ready, begin by sensing your breath. Feel your breathing in the area of your chest. This can help you become present to what is within you. Take one hand and hold is gently on your heart as if you were holding a vulnerable human being. You are.
As you continue to breathe, bring to mind the loss or pain you are grieving. Let the story, the images, the feelings comes naturally. Hold them gently. Take your time. Let the feelings come layer by layer, a little at a time.
Keep breathing softly, compassionately. Let whatever feelings are there, pain and tears, anger and love, fear and sorrow, come as they will. Touch them gently. Let them unravel out of your body and mind. Make space for any images that arise. Allow the whole story. Breathe and hold it all with tenderness and compassion. Kindness for it all, for you and for others.
The grief we carry is part of the grief of the world. Hold it gently. Let it be honored. You do not have to keep it in anymore. You can let it go into the heart of compassion; you can weep.
Releasing the grief we carry is a long, tear-filled process. Yet it follows the natural intelligence of the body and heart. Trust it, trust the unfolding. Along with meditation, some of your grief will want to be written, to be cried out, to be sung, to be danced. Let the timeless wisdom within you carry you through grief to an open heart.’
- Jack Kornfield, The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace