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Thread: My Experience at Village Zendo Workshop on Race

  1. #1

    My Experience at Village Zendo Workshop on Race

    Last Saturday I participated in the Village Zendo’s “White Work on Racism” (WWOR). There were 23 or so participants. It was about how we formed our perceptions of who was good and who was bad, what aspirations we were raised to have, and so on. The next WWOR meeting will focus on class/caste. The leader mentioned the book Caste, I believe it is by Isabel Wilkerson.

    The meeting started with a few minutes of sitting. Then a leader talked and gave a prompt, and anyone who wanted to respond would raise their hands (they called it “popcorn participation”). That part was like meetings at Treeleaf. A video was shown of a cheetah attacking a deer - it showed that the deer recovered by shaking, and our instruction then was to shake ourselves.

    Then the facilitators broke us up into groups of three with a list of questions. One person would ask the questions (they were posted in chat on the ZOOM screen), another would respond, and a third person would pay attention to emotional responses to the interview and write those responses down. The roles would rotate every five minutes, so each of the three would take on each of the roles, and then there were five additional minutes where we could discuss what had happened within the threesome. I usually have a problem with feeling awkward when participating in small group discussions but found this format to be more natural to respond to.

    Then the facilitators brought us back together on one screen, and again, if people wanted to say something about the experience, they could raise their hands to be called on. I’m glad I participated and want to participate in future meetings.

    Sorry I ran quite a bit over three sentences.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah
    On (Warm)
    Kai (Sea)

  2. #2
    Thank you for being our ambassador there, Onkai.

    If you find any suggestions or tips that might be suited to our Sangha, please let us know so that we can consider them.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    Thank you for sharing that, Onkai. It sounds pretty intense. I hope you will post about future meetings.
    Gassho,
    Krista
    st/lah

  4. #4
    Thank you for for being there Onkai and sharing your experience, as Jundo says, please pass anything on which could help.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  5. #5
    nice Onkai.



    aprapti

    std

    Let silence take you to the core of life

  6. #6
    Thank you for going and sharing, Onkai.

    That sounds like a really valuable discussion to be involved in.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  7. #7
    Wonderful Onkai! Thank you for sharing your experience. Deep bows.

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  8. #8
    Lovely, Onkai! Thank you for sharing this with us

    Gassho,
    Washin
    stlah
    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    ----
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  9. #9
    I just participated in the second session of “White Work On Racism,” offered by The Village Zendo. It was a moving session with small group discussions. Jundo brought up the question of what purpose WWOR is for, and the description on The Village Zendo website begins as follows (at https://villagezendo.org/events/white-work-on-racism/ )
    Racism is a trauma that affects all bodies, creating tension, disconnection, and perpetuation of suffering. This group is for White people who want to heal, who want to develop a benign and whole White identity, and who want to turn toward justice.

    White Work on Racism (WWOR) meets once a month, and includes education, experiences, and conversation. We are guided by Janet Helms’ model of identity development and Resmaa Menakem’s application of somatic therapies to the trauma of racism. Turning the light inward, we aim to support each other to uncover the workings of racism and transform them.
    Today’s session focused on class, and the leader referenced the book Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson. At the session, the leader played a recording of Wilkerson narrating a scene of racial discrimination that took place before the Civil Rights movement. We were broken up into groups where we took turns asking set questions about our feelings about the story, answering, and listening. My group got into how some people were raised around racism.

    Later the leader discussed class, and what makes a class identity. Then we broke up into the same groups with questions about our class identity, how we feel about it and how we relate to people in our class and above us or below us. The group discussion had different points of view and some emotion. I think we were all open and accepting of each other.

    Sorry to go over three sentences - overenthusiasm

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat
    Last edited by Onkai; 10-31-2020 at 10:23 PM.
    On (Warm)
    Kai (Sea)

  10. #10
    Onkai, that sounds fascinating and challenging. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I look forward to your next update!
    Gassho,
    Krista
    st

  11. #11
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    This sounds so interesting, thank you Onkai.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  13. #13
    I forgot to mention an important part of the experience, which was that there were ways we got in touch with and released tensions in our bodies. After the discussions, it made a big difference. Instead of carrying the heavy emotions I felt a release and wholeness.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah
    On (Warm)
    Kai (Sea)

  14. #14
    That sounds really interesting (and challenging). Thanks for sharing, Onkai.

    Gassho,

    Heiso

    StLah

  15. #15
    Today I joined for a third workshop. The concept of colorblindness, and how that has been brought forth as an equalizing idea, but can reinforce white supremacy by making "normal" to be white culture. We broke up into smaller groups a couple of times for discussion. The second time around it was suggested that colorblindness and race parallel the absolute and the relative, and that the absolute must meet the relative. We were given a koan about it, but I don't remember it exactly and don't want to misquote it. There were centering exercises, and at the end we shook and moved to some fast, percussive music. The leader said that in the next session there will be questions about what is nice about being white.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah
    On (Warm)
    Kai (Sea)

  16. #16
    Thanks for sharing Onkai. I wish I'd been able to attend.Takes me back to when I got into uni in my mid 30's. I chose as many indigenous studies subjects as I could do as part of my degree. We were incredibly fortunate to have had so many lecturers who had found infamy (if they were white it would be fame) as prominent Aboriginal resistance organisers. They gave zero hoots about white sensibilities or sensitivities and had many students storm out of their lectures after having their white privilege presented to them like a Lennox Lewis jab. I loved every minute.
    Gassho
    Onka
    Sat today
    *apologies for the extra and probably unnecessary words. I always endeavour to do and be better.
    aka Anna Kissed
    Pronouns She/Her They/Them

  17. #17
    Thank you for sharing, Onkai. Whenever I see someone say they are colorblind (usually I see this online), I wonder if they truly feel that way or if it has become a right wing talking point. While it feels like colorblindness should be a good thing, I think it’s only currently possible to see the world that way from the privileged place of not having to think about race. It’s tremendously helpful to relate it to the relative and absolute. Thank you.
    Gassho,
    KristaB
    st

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