First, to say that the ___ just the first part, round, kind of sharing some thoughts about this. Then, the open discussion, we won’t be ___.
Now, as you know, we’ve made reference during this retreat to diversity initiative that as you see I’ve been committed to for quite a few years now, in five (5) or six (6) years. And I thought, it might be ___ and helpful just to give a little background, a bit of a history of how that all emerged and why we think it’s so important.
We came back from the time in the practice in India in 1974, and that was the summer that ___ Institute had the first summer session in ___ Colorado. Now, ___ wood stock. People from all over the country, kind of the first big gathering of people interested in Eastern Religion practice. ___ composted it, ___ creation and ___ was also there. Yes, speaking more from the Hindu tradition, ___.
Now, a couple of thousand people, you know, from all over the country and there was this amazingly exciting time and I was teaching the meditation sections of ___’s class, because we have known each other in India. And there were many, as I’ve said, couple of thousand people, a lot of people introduced to ___ practice. You know, it’s like catching the way of a ___. You know, there’s this, the timing was perfect in terms of what was happening in this country. And it was really from that summer in 1974 that the whole spread of ___ and mindfulness practice happened from the people who were at that summer session.
We would be invited just in a very hot ___ just to come into the retreat, you know, in South Carolina, and it was in ___, in California, in Massachusetts, and it’s just built in a very much in the ground. It was a total grass roots phenomenon. And it just.. it’s just took off. It’s just so much interested.
What was very striking about was that it’s almost exclusively a white, middle class phenomena. You know, there were very few people of color on this retreat. And what’s so surprising in retrospect was surprising and shocking was how normal that fault. It didn’t even occur to us that this was an issue or a ___, which speaks in a way to the whole one of the big problems of race in this country, and the issues in this country are quite unique to American history, and of course, a lot of you are from overseas, from Europe, and Australia where there are own issues. But the issues here are very specific and very deep rooted.
And I really point it to the fact that it’s very possible to live in this country even though the contrary is so multi-cultural in a very segregated way. You know, we can live our whole life not having much interaction on any level. ___ very limited levels with people of color. And I think that’s one of the reasons as we started teaching and having retreats. The question never even arose. We were just thinking about it.
So, first, a word, also about this term—people of color. ___ we were talking about it at last year at the end of the three (3) month course. ___ just questions and issues came up, because many people were not familiar with this term, especially people from overseas who may not be, you know, a common terminologies. But here, it is the preferred term that people of color use in describing their experience, and this is all self-identified. Nobody’s assigning anything. People identified, or can choose to identify, you know, as a person of color.
Quite independent of the color or shade of one’s skin. And so that’s why it’s not a question of looking at a person, or yes, as a person of color. It’s how the person themselves think of themselves and identify themselves.
And so the abbreviation as you probably know by now is P.O.C. Last year, we were using this acronym P.O.C. and a lot of people, and again especially ___, had no idea about what we’re talking about. Now, it’s not necessarily a common terminology.
Okay, that’s just a little background to where we started.
Some years, after we began teaching again, it was very white, middle class ___. Some friends of ours who were quite engaged in social actions. We had the idea to have kind of retreat, not an intensive retreat, but a quasi retreat for social activists. For people who really ___ frontlines, who knows ___. And many of these people were engaged with people of color who were also activities, and so we gathered quite a lot of people.
And so the retreat here in Massachusetts. And the morning were spent in sharing the meditation, and the afternoon was a lot of discussion. There was a big ___ in the middle of this retreat. And the revolt happened, because even though with all the best intentions, it was a group of white ___ who had set it up, who had organized it, who had laid out the scheduled so there was not kind of any sense of sharing the power of how this was going to unfold. And again, it was just outside the range of what we were all aware of it. It haven’t even occurred to us.
And so, in looking back now, as I’ve said, it’s kind of shocking that there was so much cluelessness, but there was a lot. For me, personally, something quite transformative happened at that retreat even with the revolution and things got worked out to some extent. You know, there were a lot of group discussion about ___.
The one of the things that happened in some of the group discussions: There was a very personal sharing from different people, including many of the activists of color, and African American, and Latina, from various ethnic background.
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