“These are opportune times to transmute the energy of angst into actions that deepen our insight,” says Dr. Kamilah Majied. She invites us to rest in unrest, staying steady in impermanence.
“The only lasting truth is change” —Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
As many of us take to the streets and elsewise engage in direct actions to protect and honor Black lives, some are wondering “When do we stop protesting?” The yearning for calm is as natural as fear of new experiences. Yet we know that aversion to change and attachment to calm just lead to more suffering.
With that in mind, we can notice that these are opportune times to transmute the energy of angst into actions that deepen our insight.
Is the discomfort that arises connected to attachment to privilege?
The place to begin is to do one’s daily practice with curiosity about the uncomfortable feelings, thoughts, and sensations that arise when considering anti-Black racism in one’s interior life, interactions, and environs. Is the discomfort that arises connected to attachment to privilege, to not wanting to give up any more time or energy to thinking about anti-Black racism? Does contemplating it cause a sense of overwhelm or guilt or shame about privilege?
If so, then these are the ideal conditions for practice towards freedom from the paralysis of such emotions. To set an intention to face anti-Black racism in daily practice in the service of growing one’s own insight is to practice engaging more powerfully in the world.
Leaning in to the unease that protests to honor Black lives and the backlash against them arouses, we gain a clearer picture of reality. We access the view from outside privilege bunkers where we may be hiding from the truths of the world. Black people live with the dis-ease of anti-Black racism every second of every day and all too often die painfully from it as well.
Deciding each day in practice to face anti-Black racism with a commitment to disrupt its place in our thoughts, emotions, actions, inactions, interactions, workplaces and communities is to guide ourselves towards being at peace amidst impermanence, at ease and engaged in life’s unceasing rhythm of change.