Transforming the Culture of Organizing Through Contemplative Practice

The Social Justice Program of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society is hosting a gathering for emerging leaders on October 12-15, 2006.

The history of social justice work is filled with individuals and organizations that were unable to sustain the long-term effort needed to face continuing oppression. Many activists today are learning from this history and are attempting to address the errors and limitations of past efforts, resulting in a new kind of activism taking hold in the social justice movement in this country. This “spiritual activism” can be seen generally because of an understanding of where past movements have failed or fallen short. This also includes the peculiarities of modern day oppression, in which the new tools that are required need to be addressed.

This inter-generational gathering of activists and organizers offers support to social justice workers committed to changing the existing culture of organizing and to creating a stronger, more sustainable movement for social change.

I am honored to have been invited to be part of a team of mentors to facilitate this process, among these Rev. Francisco “Paco” Genkoji Lugoviña, Rev. Hilda Ryûmon Gutiérrez Baldoquín, Lisa Charley, Nghia Tran, Dr. Kyra Bobinet, and Sule Greg Wilson.

At the gathering-retreat, I will be facilitating a session titled Integrating Spiritual and Social Justice Practice: Struggles Toward Liberation and Transformation, during which we will explore some key issues confronted as we engage in the work of both social justice/transformation and spiritual practice. An opening talk will offer a framework for considering human development, social identity, and power dynamics within the context of oppression, as well as the process of consciousness-in-action. this will be followed by a dialogue among participants to address issues and questions such as:

  • How do we reconcile seemingly contradictory views of spiritual practice and social change work, e.g., acknowledging the Divine Oneness of humanity and working toward a pluralistic and egalitarian society, or striving for ego transcendence while struggling for affirmation of subordinated identities and redefinition of dominant ones?
  • Can we learn from, adopt and/or adapt spiritual practices and traditions outside our own culture(s) without misappropriating these? Do these practices and traditions work for us without causing dissonance within ourselves or giving rise to power dynamics with others?
  • What effect does your spiritual practice have on your organizing? How does it help your ability to influence and provide leadership for change? How might your spiritual practice and views hinder your social transformation work?

For more information about the gathering, please contact the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, or e-mail Sophia Awad Rice.

Raúl Quiñones Rosado

Presentation Announcement – Update

In early April, I will be offering two presentations in western Massachusetts:

Toward an Integral Approach to Liberation and Transformation

The 6th Annual Psychosynthesis Presenters’ Conference
Amherst, MA — April 1, 2006
Contact: The Synthesis Center, (413) 256-0772

Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
Northampton, MA — April 2, 2006
RSVP (413) 582-0071 or sophia@contemplativemind.org

Description:
Along the path toward greater wholeness—both within ourselves, and between individuals, communities and nations—what are some of the key challenges and opportunities we must (yet don’t want to) face?

Drawing on integral, social identity development and liberation perspectives, and thirty years of community work, anti-oppression leadership development and spiritual practice, this presentation introduces an integral liberatory framework for personal well-being and social transformation.

Topics include:
• An Integral Model of Well-Being and Development
• The Forces that Hinder: Oppression Within and Without
• Consciousness-in-Action: Transcending Limiting Frames and Reactivity
• Integral Liberatory-Transformative Practice: On Meditation, Self-Observation, and Relationship

Both presentations provide introductions to an intergral change framework I have been systematizing over the past two decades. At The Synthesis Center, the presentation will be oriented toward psychotherapists and helping professionals. At Cmind, my talk will focus more on an integral approach to social change.