Transformation Will Come From the Margins
Meditation, mindfulness, sacred chanting and other contemplative practices have exploded in popularity over the past several years. Magazine covers are constantly extolling the “miracle of mindfulness” or touting the latest research showing how meditation changes the brain. There are countless Buddhist meditation centers and what seems like a yoga studio on every corner. Christian churches offer slow, meditative Taize chanting services and Centering Prayer groups.
Yet too often, the spaces where these practices can be experienced are overwhelmingly white and center white experiences. It often requires money and a certain familiarity with white, upper middle class norms to access meditation retreats, yoga studios, and other resources. We talk about how spirituality feeds activism and vice versa, but so many of our paradigms of both spirituality and activism are rooted in or interpreted through the lens of white culture.
We talk to Teresa Pasquale Mateus, a trauma therapist, yoga teacher, contemplative, and co-founder of The Mystic Soul Project, a non-profit organization that “seeks to bring forward a People of Color (POC) - Centered Approach to Action/Activism and Contemplation/Mysticism.” She is also the author of the book Sacred Wounds: A Path to Healing From Spiritual Trauma.