Namaste, fellow white people.
Where are the people of color? Seriously. My local meditation/mindfulness/yoga/get-in-touch-with-your-inner-being groups are all populated by white people. I have more fingers than the times I’ve counted seeing people more ethnically diverse than myself. Yet, when I walk outside the doors of my group “om” sessions, I’m surrounded by a beautiful rainbow of colorful people. Then I walk back into the next group and it is like I’m going back into the box of white. That’s boring.
Folks, meditation isn’t supposed to be boring. We’ll get into the noise and ruckus later, but for now, can we just add some freaking color? At this point, I’d settle for anything other than the color of vampire-drained. Heck, it is the middle of April; I’d settle for farmer tans. But, no. We are bunched into our monochromatic congregations of similitudes and homilies, hoping to get holier-than-thou and enlightened-more-than-you. We missed the point.
This ain’t right
I love the value of mindfulness and meditation. There is power, true power, in being present. Yet, even in my online resources, I’m faced with walls of white. Check out mindful.org. Besides a page full of white people, their site background is white. I feel like I’m at the insane asylum. (I’ve been there, but that’s another story for another time. Spoiler alert: today’s insane asylums have more color in both people and wall paint than most meditation centers.)
I love mindful.org. They have some truly spectacular resources that I’ve linked to a few times before in other articles. I’ve also recommended the app Insight Timer. It’s a great app and more inclusive than other mindful community sites, but there is still a plethora of Eat, Pray, Love, Be White than I’m comfortable with seeing. Again, it is a GREAT app and I HIGHLY recommend it. I just want more color.
Real people need real practice
Where did meditation and mindfulness come from? It originated with people whose skin is darker than my own. I love that. From the foundations of the earth, from the seeds of the beginning of time, came the most peace-loving, empathetic, present-moment, open-minded people of all time. And they weren’t white. These great teachers have passed down the infinite wisdom of being human. They taught us how to interject reality and reflection into the chaos of the daily agenda. We need those earthy people back.
Let’s not slip into the normalcy of namaste-ing our way into sipping post-yoga, over-priced lattes only to forget the grounded and peace and openness we were practicing, and leading ourselves to road rage behind the wheel of our “Free Tibet” bumper-stickered electric cars. Give real presence a chance. Give real peace a chance. Give real color—real people with real lives—a chance.
With colorful skin, we need colorful people. The “noise” of meditation is for another article, another day, but know that we need more of it. We need lots of it. We need people that speak their minds. We need people that have lived broken pasts. We need people that have suffered. We need people that know that the “real world” isn’t a tv show, but that it is something to survive and fight. We need people that bring that fight into this sacred place of peace. Those people—these people—our people—us—we need to be allowed into that place. We need welcoming as a community. We need allowance for the things and people that don’t belong. Less clique and more click. Let’s do this.