Welcome to CTTT Meditation
Why is CTTT offering meditation as a healing resource? The ability to be mindful in stressful times is a skill that can greatly improve our ability to respond to ourselves and others with kindness, compassion, and wisdom. Ultimately, it can contribute greatly to our own healing and to healing our world. This is directly related to our Coming to the Table Vision, Mission, and Values regarding racial healing. In offering meditation practices through both the resources listed below and regularly-scheduled Guided Meditation Community Conference Calls, our intention is to create a community of people who are interested in practicing together and providing encouragement to each other to deepen awareness of love, compassion and wisdom in our racially-wounded country.
“Ideally, structural and cultural changes [will] reduce discriminatory practices at the societal level. But, until such changes take place, we hope this research will highlight potential strategies to mitigate the negative toll discriminatory experiences have on individual targets.” (from the article below: “Can Mindfulness Help People Cope with Discrimination?”
PLEASE NOTE: Future Guided Meditation Conference Calls are listed in the Events Calendar. To search for upcoming calls, scroll to the bottom of the Events page, and type meditation into the Search box.
Introduction to Meditation: A class led by Working Group member Jennifer Stanley exploring some basics of meditation practice: Posture, mindfulness techniques, meditation anchors, and working with thoughts and emotions, including ways to establish, energize, and support your practice, as well as where additional resources can be found.
Some benefits of Meditation
- Defuse stress and experience greater calm.
- Explore the mind-body relationship.
- Heal embodied life trauma.
- Connect to our feelings.
- Expand our sense of who we are, beyond our fears and self-judgment.
- Deepen focus, concentration, and understanding when anxious or fearful.
- Increase awareness of conditioning and habits of mind associated with bias, positionally, and blindspots.
- Increase capacity for emotion-regulation when “triggered”.
- Ameliorate effects of stereotype threat.
- Increase capacity for perspective-taking and compassion.
- Find genuine happiness.
- Discover inner resources that can change our everyday lives.
- Awaken our capacity for insight and wisdom,
- Transform our worldview from one of isolation and confusion to one of connection, clarity and compassion.
- Broaden our perspective and deepen our courage, based on seeing things just as they are.
Our intention is to provide you with resources for developing meditation skills and compassion practices which serve to specifically help you with healing racial wounds. Along with the resource links listed below, we plan to offer twice-monthly, live, guided-meditation sessions on conference calls. These calls include time for you and other participants to share and ask questions concerning your practice. We recommend that you check out a few of resources below in preparation for the calls. We will adjust the meditation offerings based on the needs and desires of those who participate.
“Meditation is not a quick fix. It asks us to slow down so that we can experience ourselves lovingly… Meditation opens us to levels of consciousness that lie deeper than our intellect. Our disguises fade and our aggression diminishes. Our mind becomes tranquil and more manageable, and we act more wisely toward others and ourselves.” – Ruth King
Resources and Links
There are many meditation resources available today in book form, websites,You Tube, and through video and CD’s. The meditation resources included on this page are ones the Coming to the Table Meditation Working group have found useful in their own journeys. Because of the vast number of resources available, we chose to limit the number of resources listed here so as not to overwhelm the practitioner. The resources listed below are divided into the following categories:
- Books intended to help you establish or reinvigorate a meditation practice;
- Websites which provide instruction and guided meditations intended to help you begin a meditation practice;
- Articles related to Mindfulness and Racial Justice
- Guided Meditation Sessions offered by African American and European American practitioners which you can use in your individual practice;
- Meditation Resources, including books and websites, which specifically address meditation practices focused on the trauma of racism; and,
- Frequently Asked Questions about Meditation; to scientific research on the benefits of a meditation practice; and to Relaxation Music.
As you experience the benefits of a steady meditation practice, you may want to deepen your practice by exploring more resources not listed here. To experience the benefits of meditation, it is important for you to develop a daily practice on your own. We encourage you to read, to visit these and other websites devoted to the practice of meditation, to begin, or continue to free your heart and mind from the multiple traumas spawned by the history and legacy of slavery in the United States.
Books to help begin a Meditation Practice:
- Mindfulness in Plain English, by Bhante Gunaratana (click here for 75-page excerpt)
- Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki (This classic book guides readers in the art of meditation and mindfulness)
- Real Happiness, by Sharon Salzberg (establish a meditation practice in 28 days)
- A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation, by Rod Sperry
Books and Articles specifically focused on Meditation Practice as a tool for addressing difficult emotions related to race:
- Healing Rage, by Ruth King
- Teachings for Uncertain Times is a special video series from Tricycle Magazine with 13 Buddhist teachers of color
- Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation, by angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, Jasmine Syedullah, Ph.D.
- Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace, by angel Kyodo williams
- Free Your Mind: An African American Guide to Meditation and Freedom, by Cortez R. Rainey (Cortez uses African American history to guide readers on their journey to develop a meditation and mindfulness practice)
Articles related to Mindfulness and Racial Justice
- Can Mindfulness Help People Cope with Discrimination? by Emily Nauman. A new study asks if mindfulness can help people who experience depression as a result of prejudice.
- 6 Ways Spiritual Thinking Can Reinforce Oppression and Racism, by Virginia Rosenberg
- How Can We Use Meditation to Deconstruct Race and Racism, by Kara Dansky, One Thousand Arms
- Can Mindfulness Help Reduce Racism? by Jill Sutti. A new study says, yes, it can be done—and the key might be mindfulness meditation.
- Is Meditation the key to combating racism? Seven minutes of loving-kindness contemplation ‘reduces racial bias’, by Lizzie Parry
- Contemplative Practices for Anti-Oppression Pedagogy: many relevant articles available at this site, including:
- How Mindfulness Can Defeat Racial Bias, by Rhonda Magee, J.D.
- Meditations on Facing Injustice, Transforming Race and Privilege, by Susal Stebbins Collins, M.A.
- Healing the Deep Grief and Wounds from Oppression, by Beth Berila, Ph.D.
Instruction and Guided Meditation for persons wishing to establish or renew a meditation practice:
- Meditation resources for beginners
- Guide to establishing a practice
- Brief instructions on how to practice insight meditation and lovingkindness meditation
- Introduction to mindful self-compassion
- Lion’s Roar
- Secular Buddhism
- The Power of Awareness
- The Heart of Contemplative Practice; John Powell
- Black Lives Matter Meditation for Healing Racial Trauma
- Yellow Brick
- Relax Music Around the World—Africa
- African Music for Meditation
- African Djembe and Drums for Meditation—Mother Nature Sound
Guided Meditations and/or Instructions
- Loving-friendliness meditation; George Mumford (a guided meditation on how use the concentration practice of lovingkindness)
- Practice of Seeing Clearly; Tara Brach (Vipassana, also known as insight meditation, is training in bringing a clear mindful attention to our moment to moment experience);
- Video Guided Vipassana Meditation; Tara Brach
- Basic Body Scan and Breath Awareness; Tara Brach
- Why We Meditate and How We Meditate; Bonnie Duran (This talk focuses on the experiences of Dukkha for People of Color and how mindfulness is the medicine to overcome suffering)
- Breath Meditation Instructions; Gina Sharpe (Basic instructions on how to use the breath as a meditation anchor)
- People of Color Sangha; Gina Sharpe (The guided meditation ends at 16:45 with silence until the dharma talk begins at 34:28)
- Basic Mindfulness of Body – Sitting and Walking; Gina Sharpe
- Metta Instructions – Self and Benefactor; Gina Sharpe (Instructions for lovingkindness (metta) practice for oneself and a benefactor)
- Mindfulness of Emotions; DaRa Williams (Spirit Rock Annual People of Color Retreat. The guided meditation instructs people on how to be mindful of their emotions as the arise and fade away)
- Vipassana Instructions; Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey (Guided meditation instructions encouraging a balance of energy and relaxation as well as investigation and kindness)
Research on Meditation, Mindfulness, and Mindful Self-Compassion
- List of current research studies at the Center for Healthy Minds
- Bibliography on mindful self-compassion (Includes many freely available .PDF files)
- Bibliography of research studies at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society
Note: If you have suggestions for additional meditation resources specifically related to race, or have questions about resources listed here, please contact the CTTT Meditation Working Group HERE. We will periodically update our resource lists.
The Guided Meditation Community Conference Calls will be listed in the CTTT Events Calendar.