Book review, Mindfulness

Uniting Aspects of Self

john a. powell 

Wednesday’s Pre-Conference Keynote Speech

ISCS 2014

Wow!  What a day, I am still reeling in the compassionate, knowledge sharing, equity seeking, mindfulness based day that the Mind and Life Institute organized for us.

The Pre-Conference Keynote speaker was john c. powell.

john a. powell Speaker, Social Activist, and Fellow Mindfulness Practitioner

Who is john a. powell?  john a. powell (spelled without capitals) leads the UC Berkeley Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.  Heholds the Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion, is a Professor of Law, and a Professor of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies at the University of CaliforniaBerkeley School of Law.

john is a prolific author, orator, and teacher.  His latest book, Racing to Justice: Transforming Our Conceptions of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society (Indiana University Press, 2012), explores the relationship of self to others.  That exploration requires awareness.

powell is a power house among civil liberties activists and educators.  He spoke poignantly about systematic change from a space of being aware and mindful.  powell shared an example in which  his earlier colleagues wondered if he would “get anything accomplished” because he did not move from anger, rage and fear.

Compassion and Love Affecting Social Change

powell states he has a strong contemplative practice and even though he can be outraged by inequities, he moves from a place of compassion and love.  He expanded the conversation by saying there is no longer a bridge between his two lives of social justice and contemplation.  His professional life of social justice and his contemplative life IS ONE.  IT IS THE SAME!    He can move from a place of awareness, compassion, and love  to effect social and systemic change.

Coming from this foundation of social justice and contemplation, he addresses the issues of life and moves from the profound understanding of the consecutiveness of all life.  Interconnection is the heart of social justice and spirituality.  It creates compassion and love.  Great people such as Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and Mother Theresa embodied the same principle of social justice and contemplation.

Can YOU use john a. powell as an example?  Can you be outraged about a situation (whether it is family, social, or global) and move to change YOU in that situation by operating from a context of compassion and love?

Welcome Uncomfortable Conversation

Now this notion might make you uncomfortable, to have a dialogue to effect some change that you want from a place of compassion and love.  john c powell says it is perfectly alright to be uncomfortable.  Embrace the discomfort, own it, accept it and move into the conversation with the openness that you do not know all the answers or maybe you don’t know all the issues!

A question from the audience to powell was:  “What do you do to frame an uncomfortable conversation?”  powell’s answer was simple:

First, we must acknowledge the uncomfortable,

1)      Acknowledge the uncomfortable within ourselves

2)      Find an interactive way to create space to talk about the uncomfortable topic with those whom you are not comfortable around.

3)      Do not blame the other person or community for your discomfort

john a. powell gave us permission to accept our own diversity.  We are NOT the same.  We come from different economic backgrounds, races, sexual orientations, abilities and disabilities.  He said, “As my identity shifts, your identity shifts.” It would behoove us to remember that.

That was a mere 90 minutes!  The pre-conference concurrent sessions were just as inspiring and transformational.

Today, I am grateful to observe a dialogue with His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama entitled “Science and Society, An Interactive Dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”

Start to contemplate how YOU can change YOUR world.  Open to the possibility that society can shift as your world changes..

Until tomorrow…

A book for Mothers OR Fathers  wanting to work with the most advanced theories for creating the dynamics you desire in your family

A book for Mothers OR Fathers wanting to work with the most advanced theories for creating the dynamics you desire in your family