These recent weeks have seen the scourge of senseless gun violence tearing through a school, a supermarket, and neighborhoods across America. In this episode, Amy Edelstein reaches deep into the power of meditation to imprint in us the undeniable experience of interconnectedness and love, a love that inspires us to want to dispel ignorance rather than fight (even for a cause) in ways that only create more division and separation. This entire episode is both a guided meditation and a deep reflection.Support the show
Hello and welcome to the Conscious Classroom Podcast. My name is Amy Edelstein. Today I want to speak about the disturbing phenomena of gun violence in and around American schools. This is an issue that is increasingly brought to the forefront of educators attention requiring us to support comfort and reassure our students.
When we ourselves have little faith, that reassurance is truly insight. So how do we use our mindfulness practice to deepen our faith in the possibility of humanity rising to an acceptable level of interrelationship with one another? And then how do we use our mindfulness practice to let ourselves rest in an experience of conscious awareness where goodness is in the forefront of the fabric of the universe?
That's what I want to focus today's discussion on at the same time as allowing for the numbness, the pain, the sadness, the frustration, the sense of futility, and even the desire to make another wrong, to direct our frustration onto an individual, a group or a faction so that we have a convenient target for our rage.
Let's take a moment as we begin this exploration, which will be difficult and challenge. I will be bringing up as Al gore called it inconvenient truths, not just the reality and the frequency of avoidable tragedies, but the complexity with which we need to engage in order to come to a higher ground.
Beyond the factions and beyond the disagreements.
I'm going to make the effort to bring us to a sense of our shared humanity and the universality of the human experience and the fact of our need to unravel. Ignorance ignorance being that sense of unawareness of blinkered, newness of not seeing the whole picture of false beliefs that are clung to of fears and desires that are inhibiting
to prepare the ground for this difficult time.
Allow yourself to come into a mindfulness posture. Well, you're alert and somewhat at ease.
Maybe your hands are holding each other. Notice the temperature, notice the company. Of touch is one is your fingers may be interlaced one between the other, feel the warmth and the pressure of holding,
feel the warmth and the connection as your fingers. Touch one another.
Allow your exhalations to take you within to let you drop into yourself,
allow the vigilance to relax just a little.
For the next few moments,
let yourself breathe. Letting thought be.
Letting yourself focus on that mysterious, current and meditation.
That seems to be always.
Whenever we sit and allow our attention to open make room
for that dimension of our experience to come to the floor.
Allow yourself to loosen the boundaries of the self to let go of identification with your own thoughts as self, your own experience.
As you need to, you allow the borders and boundaries to loosen up to experience one universal web of life conscious.
and now begin to bring your attention.
Back to the environment that you may be in. So we can shift from our focus on the depths of meditation, to the world of relatedness and form. As we move from singularity to complexity, let's maintain. Our awareness of that flow of life. That fabric of life that is profoundly whole
one weave one fabric, one field of awareness consciousness. And. And it's from that orientation that we can turn to issues that are so fragmented and fragmenting, like the conflict around gun possession in America and the consequences on the line. Of the innocent and the hopeful
as teachers and we're meditators in our lives and in our schools, the focus on kindness and compassion on interconnectedness with others on trust and faith in our human ability to. And connect is all important, both in times of grieving and in times of safety,
the response to violence that will elevate the conversation.
Challenges us also to go to new depths within ourselves to strengthen our rootedness in love and compassion.
When we work with love and compassion in our classrooms, in our schools with our colleagues, when we strengthen those practice. We also develop an attunement to those individuals who are cut off. We noticed those students or individuals in the area who had no effect, no feeling who's seen.
You seem emotionless and profoundly unconnected.
Those are signs for worry. There's signs for outreach there's signs for preventative intervention for reaching out for referrals. For contact with families, friends, it takes a village to keep a community safe, which means talking to one another, noticing one, another caring about our safety and caring about the mental.
Of all of those around us.
We can't exclude anyone in our communities because we don't like them because they have an unpleasant demeanor because they blend into the background because a community is made up of everyone within it. And to outlier. Are not separate from the whole and often they're the ones who can have the deepest unsettling impact on the whole.
So we use our mindfulness. We use our practice to ground in our own health and wellbeing and keep renewing and fulfilling.
So that we have capacity to notice. We're able to see with something is out of balance and we're able to creatively work to bring that into balance through communication, through a collective. Okay. For the health and wellbeing of everyone
violence surveillance, weapons, scanners are already downstream from the problem
as meditators and educators working upstream of the problem. Working to uplift, to sensitize the individuals in our communities, towards the nobility of human character, towards the possibility of a higher human potential in relatedness and compassion in insight and wisdom in generosity in love in respect.
An ability to manage complexity as where we want to focus our attention, working upstream, meditating on how we bring those higher human potentials into our classroom, into our experience, into our lives, into our neighborhoods, into our organization.
Will inspire us. It will renew us. It will give us something to work towards
working towards nobility and enobles
when we teach our students how to work towards an ability. Paying attention to purpose, paying attention to possibility, paying attention to goodness. We will have more enthusiasm within ourselves, and we'll also have less tolerance for mediocrity within ourselves, less tolerance for those parts of ourselves that like to dull out and follow this.
Because that dullness that sloth and torpor that checked out newness misses important cues, misses important moments to connect and affirm to course adjust, to bring in help, to value the higher potentials of those outcomes.
Who may be starting at, or who may have sunk to lower dimensions, lower possibilities, lower levels of the human capacity to.
Now, when it comes to the polarized conversation on gun violence in America, the most important thing
is to gain common sense wins
as we strive for a world that doesn't need guns to protect because we've transcended our baser aggressive motives. So we hold out that ideal as the possible.
And we work together on very common sense details
as Nicholas Kristoff from the New York times explains in more detail in a recent op-ed to work in the weeds in the boring details out of the fray of the spotlight. Out of the intensity of slogans and positions and work together in the boring details to work on safety protocols, to work on achievable ways to promote the mature handling of these implements that can call.
So much destruction
as he writes, we have 10 page safety protocols for ladders, which kill about a hundred people a year. We can start producing safety protocols on usage, on storage, on so many different aspects of this. That we'll see change. And as we see change, we'll be educating about the dangers and we'll be educating about safety and we'll be educating towards peace.
We'll be educating towards nonviolence. We'll be legislating towards life, towards care, moving away from the rhetoric and moving away from the slogan. Takes effort.
It's easier to hold a single position then to unpack that position into its myriad component parts, because we can find common ground on some of these. Boring and non charged component parts that can save lives. They can reduce the grief, the fear, the bloodshed, and the sense of futility of there being nowhere to fleet to.
So as we hug our loved ones and hold them,
As we grieve a collective grief
for the senseless pain, the loss, the creativity that will never come to full flower and we keep our sights on the possible.
In the darkest of storms, the sun is still in the heavens
staying anchored in the recognition that the human potential for love and togetherness, kindness, peace, joy celebration. Exists and remains even in the face of human disconnection, lack of emotion,
and mental break.
As you breathe in, breathe in light.
As you breathe out, breathe out sadness. As you breathe in, fill your body with Jen. As you breathe out, let the sorrow to part
breathe in. Goodness. Breathe out. Sadness.
Breathe in. Love.
Breathe out heaviness, breathe in light,
breathe out, fog,
breathe in case.
Breathe out despair,
breathe in joy,
breathe out. Dullness
breathe out, tiredness,
breathe, and infinity.
Allow that in affinity to activate your entire. Sparkling with energy sparkling with luminosity,
sparkling, with wisdom and sparkling, with love.
And as you breathe out, breathe out that infinite goodness.
Visualizing it taking hold and activating and the bodies of all those you love and your students, their futures with lightness of being
An infinite potential.
Maybe we all experience the comfort of knowing we are held by the arms of the universe.