Community Love Letter to Minneapolis & America
September 27, 2020
To our neighbors who want to be seen and heard — those we know, and those we do not yet know:
We hurt, grieve, and reckon together. This is a time in the spiritual and moral life of our nation which demands a recalibration of humanity, and it began on May 25, 2020, right here in Minneapolis. We, members of the Common Ground mindfulness community, have been loving on the Twin Cities for 26+ years, and this time invites us to deepen our love and commitment to our shared community. Given the devastating torture and murder of George Floyd, the subsequent uprisings here and elsewhere, we now have an undeniable responsibility to our collective well-being to transform our relationships and examine ways in which we may have colluded with oppressive systems.
In Minneapolis, we have lived through both the righteous protests and the burning of our businesses, libraries, and police precincts. We have gathered with our neighbors to organize block shifts to keep each other safe during white supremacist attacks, and in the process, have actually gotten to know them better. We honor the resolve among the young, Black, queer, trans and elder organizers of the Defund the Police movement. At the same time, our hearts break as we watch division increase even in these communities, and people grow more and more frightened of each other, sabotaging our capacity to remember our common humanity and make deep change.
We are aware that, in the shadow of the worst pandemic the world has seen in over 100 years, almost one in eight households do not have enough to eat. We weep for the now almost one million dead worldwide, and 200,000 dead in our borders from the virus — numbers that keep growing every day. We have also been distressed by the ongoing homelessness and housing crisis throughout the Twin Cities metro area, and in fact, the whole state.
And all the while, we have been active agents in all that has transpired as well, trying our best to accept what we call the dharma, or the way it is, while at the same time not contributing to the suffering piling up around us and inside us.
We do not have the antidote to all the hurt that keeps exploding, particularly in our most vulnerable BIPOC and working-class communities. But we wonder and dream what might be possible if more of us could hold our pain more skillfully when it comes up, instead of instantly reacting to it in ways that harm ourselves and others. In mindfulness training, we pay attention to the sensations in the body, we study ethics and non-harming, we try not to commit acts of violence just because we’re angry or frustrated. For many of us, our practice has allowed us to sit with our grief in ways we haven’t been able to before. This, in turn, allows the grief to move within and outside us, thus making space for something new to emerge.
We have lost children, parents, livelihoods, and even at times the belief that a more just world is possible, but in coming back to mindfulness teachings, we learn over and over again to really be kind to ourselves in our most tender moments. In this practice we learn to have compassion for ourselves and others. And not to harm ourselves and others. This is the deep listening that all of us yearn for in these difficult times — particularly those with little or no safety net.
We write you from the deep heart of compassion and lovingkindness because we want all of us to be well, safe from harm, and living our best lives, but we know there are many external challenges. What we can offer are resiliency practices from our worlds of contemplation, meditation, and centuries-old wisdom. If, as Cornel West said, “Justice is what love looks like in public,” how might justice be expressed in the Twin Cities right now? We would like to explore this together.
We also have an invitation for you — to join us online at commongroundmeditation.org…
Towards Solidarity, Peace, and Justice,
The Common Ground Meditation Center mindfulness community
To view a recording of some of the authors of the letter reading it, click here.