Mindfulness, could it collectively cure societal dysfunction?

This community conversation was hosted as part of Dysfunctions of the Decades & a Functional Future, a project which spotlights topics critical to building a sustainable future and culminates in a community-led pop-up arts and culture exhibit the evening of Earth Day, April 22nd at WOO Creative in Delray.  

This WiseTribe Community Conversation was in collaboration with local non-profit, AURORAS Voice, which is dedicated to social justice and principles of nonviolence, and it was led by Erinn Beck, licensed mental health counselor, and Linda Gradess, a mindfulness coach who has a long career in human development.

How collective mindfulness could aid in curing societal dysfunction and lead to peaceful, transformational civic action is of great interest to WiseTribe.  As a “technology,” we believe the ancient wisdom of mindfulness is underutilized in terms of its potential to transform our social and cultural institutions towards serving us better.

Mindfulness is the capacity to pay attention to our attention – to have the big picture of our own thinking – and to do so without judgement.

This short animation takes us on a tour of the brain as it encounters and interacts with varying emotionally driven events and does an excellent job of painting the “big picture” of our interior processes.

When able to take on the “big picture” and suspend judgement of ourselves and others, we enter a deeper awareness of who we are as human beings.  It is this which holds tremendous collective benefits to society. If more of us were slowing down to experience our experiences and taking time to understanding them in the context of something much larger rather than simply reacting in the moment, so much crime, heartache and needless waste could be eliminated.

Doing this takes practice and self compassion.  It is essential not to make ourselves feel bad and wrong when our “Monkey Mind” takes over.  Visualize your thoughts as if they were a monkey endlessly swinging from branch to branch and this is what is meant by the Monkey Mind. 

Focusing our attention on an object such as our breathing, feeling of our body, or a mantra can be useful for bringing us back into the present moment.  Erinn and Linda shared a number of tips and tools for re-centering the mind and Linda closed this community conversation by leading us through a beautiful, loving-kindness meditation, a practice which is linked to a host of personal, societal and health benefits, including longer life span.  You can practice loving-kindness mediation with this guided recording offered by Berkeley University. 

If you are interested in incorporating your mindfulness into your daily life and you live in Delray Beach, there is a weekly meditation on Wednesday mornings from 7am to 7:45am at the beach, just south of the pavilion.  This is offered by a local community group known as Mindful Delray which strives to create a more compassionate and enlightened community through the study and practice of mindfulness.

Many thanks to all who joined us and especially to Erinn, Linda and AURORAS Voice. We’re excited to see Mindful Delray expand and help bring about positive social transformation.

Click here to review the presentation for this community conversation.

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