Eric Garner and the Goal of Meditation

This week I met with a number of teachers and administrators at a school in Los Angeles to talk about mindfulness for students. I had reached out to the school after seeing a presentation that said stress was the number one concern of students, parents and teachers. Sadly this didn’t surprise me as I know it to be the case for many students, at many schools, and in fact for many parents (myself included).

While I thought we’d talk about the benefits of meditation and what exercises we could do with the kids, one teacher’s presence moved me. She shared, with tears and a broken voice, that while she wanted to explore programs to deal with everyone’s anxiety, she could think of nothing but the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown. As she broke down in tears, we all took a moment to feel her pain, and all of our pain for the injustice that we feel is beyond our control. Loss that seems senseless, and yet is a part of the fabric of our society.

I was reminded that our journey in meditation may help with health and stress, but ultimately our journey is about empathy and compassion. This weekend my intent is to try without judgement to honor the enormous loss that these families are facing. To pray for so many wounded hearts, and feel the pain and hurt and anger that so many are expressing. With authentic empathy, my hope is our voices are heard, and we take the first steps on the long hard road to affect change.

from Mallika Chopra


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