Identity, Power & Integral Change Workshops

My colleague at c-Integral, Rose Sackey-Milligan, and I will be offering this workshop in Boston and Northampton, Massachusetts this fall. This will be a great opportunity for people interested in learning experientially about the consciousness-in-action approach and about its potential for personal and collective level change.

We’d love to see you either in Boston or Northampton.

Here’s the announcement:

Identity, Power & Integral Change is a one-day workshop in which participants are invited to deepen their understanding of identity, broaden their analysis of power, critically examine values, beliefs and behaviors concerning liberation, and personally engage transformative practices for integral change.

Through this workshop, we will explore these basic aspects of the consciousness-in-action process:

  • Integral Well-Being & Development: Personal and Collective Dimensions of Being and Doing
  • Forces That Hinder Well-Being & Development: Complexities of Institutional and Internalized Oppression
  • Personal & Social Aspects of Identity & Power Within Dominant Culture: Self in Dynamic Relationship to Other(s) as Context for Liberation and Transformation
  • Integral Transformative Practices: Tools, Practices and Disciplines to Undermine Reactive Patterns and Nurture Libratory Transformation

This workshop will be useful for helping professionals, social justice and spiritual activists, community organizers and cultural workers, students and educators, and other change agents interested in the connection between personal well-being and development and social justice and transformation.

Facilitated by Raúl Quiñones-Rosado and Rose Sackey-Milligan, this workshop will be offered on Friday, October 22nd in the Boston area and again on Saturday, October 23rd in Northampton, MA.

Sliding Scale Fee: $25 – $75  — (Supported in part by The Seasons Fund for Social Transformation).

To PRE-REGISTER please send an e-mail to: info@c-integral.org

C-in-Action Webinar

A few weeks ago, Rose Sackey-Milligan, c-Integral’s Co-Director, and I held our first Consciousness-in-Action webinar. This presentation was hosted by the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society as part of their series of webinars for the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, teachers, scholars, administrators and students who teach or use contemplative practices in academia.

This presentation provides an overview of consciousness-in-action, c-Integral’s unique approach to personal and social transformation. As such, it serves as a basic introduction to some of the key concepts, principles and applications of this transformative path. In it, we speak to the value of contemplative practice in addressing complex identity and social justice issues for individual and collective liberation from oppression, a necessary stage as we move toward integral well-being and development.

Clearly, this is merely an introduction to the consciousness-in-action approach to integral liberation and transformation. We hope it serves as a teaser to those that may interested in learning more about this transformative practice.

Our thanks go to Beth Wadham, Carrie Bergman and the folks at C-Mind for inviting us to share our work with ACMHE and for making it possible to share it with you all reading this.

Consciousness in Action from Center for Contemplative Mind on Vimeo.

Firing Zone: On a Beach in Vieques

A few years ago, as thousands of peaceful anti-militarism resistors struggled for the withdrawal of the US Navy from the occupied island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, I wrote this piece. When asked by Turning Wheel, the Journal of Socially Engaged Buddhism, to submit something for their special 30 anniversary issue, I remembered it. The entire issue is quite wonderful. Please check it out.

Firing Zone: On a Beach in Vieques

“PAZ”

            I could feel the warm sand on my feet even through my beat-up sneakers. A few hours later in the day that sand would be a lot hotter, dangerously so. But at 8:00 in the morning, it felt nice, pleasant, relaxing, even.

            Funny how I was calm, not very nervous at all, even though I knew that any minute I’d be surrounded by men-white, black, and brown-dressed in camouflage, armed with automatic weapons designed to tear into human flesh and bone with total detachment. They were there to protect what they believed to be theirs. How would they know that soldiers and sailors three generations before had come to clear out the property their government had stolen from the people of Vieques? These men, these sailors and Marines recruited off the streets of New York, out of the high schools of DC, off the unemployment lines right here in Puerto Rico, were just following orders: “Detain any civilian trespassers on this base!”
            Standing there in the sand, writing my simple, yet clear message, in letters ten feet tall -P…A…Z- I was at peace. It was like any other meditation, only this time walking, writing in the sand, soaking in the morning sun, soothed by the breeze and breaking waves.
            I focused on the beauty of it all while I mentally prepared myself to be grabbed up and put away for God knows how many days, weeks, or months. I concentrated on the quiet of the moment, before jet fighters would come swooping down to drop their loads of bullets and bombs into now-imaginary enemy targets, soon to be very real ones in places far from this once-upon-a-time Caribbean paradise. I stayed present to the moment so as not to think of what could happen to me there, alone, separated from the many other civil disobedients, obedients of consciousness, demanding respect for freedom, for health, for peace. How could I know if I would have the same fate as Ángel Rodríguez Cristobal, who twenty years earlier on those same beaches had been arrested, only later to be found dead in his federal prison cell? How could I know if I’d ever see my son or my partner again?
            Yet when the soldiers came, I was at peace. When they handcuffed me, and searched my body, I was at peace. When they locked me in a cage, and later ten more, twenty-a hundred eighty peaceful warriors of conscience-I was at peace.
            And while at peace in my mind, I was keenly aware of the quake deep in my soul, the tremor strong in my heart that reminded me that my peace would never be complete while soldiers and sailors roam, while bombs and bullets fall, while cannons blast and projectiles explode, while the planet’s most powerful military force continues to impose its will upon those of this tiny nation, the will of a people who merely want what we all want: health, justice, peace.
             One year later, many are still imprisoned while the US Navy insists on exercising its might. “One more year,” they say trying to appease us, as if anyone in his right mind could actually consent to his own violent abuse for even one more minute. It remains to be seen just how many more people, how many more nonviolent re-occupations of the live-fire range it will take before peace finally comes to the people of Vieques.
             Meanwhile, my own search for peace requires daily practice, as I write, now not in the sand, but on the page, or on the computer. I seek this peace when I speak the truth of our struggle to a large group, or as I try to convey the power of our vision to just one other. Or as I sit, alone, in silence, bearing witness to the beauty of the world and its people, wondering when this realization may also be enjoyed by those in Vieques and by those in uniform… and those in Washington… and those on Wall Street… and in Jerusalem and Gaza… Delhi and Karachi… Beirut… Bogotá… Kabul… Baghdad…

¡Paz!

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  This piece was originally written in the summer of 2002. Almost one year later, on May 1, 2003, the US Navy officially closed its base at Camp García in Vieques. In effect, the largest, most powerful military force in history was overcome by the persistent non-violence civil disobedience of the thousands of people who joined this cause. Having obtained the demilitarization of this island-municipality of Puerto Rico, the people of Vieques continue their struggle for the land’s decontamination, its devolution to local residents, and the sustainable economic development of its community. Meanwhile, the people of Puerto Rico continue their centuries-old struggle against colonialism and for self-determination and national sovereignty.

RQR

 

From Amherst, to Istanbul, to New York

It’s incredible how quickly the first quarter of the year has already gone by! And it feels like things are just getting started. For me, in many ways, they are. As I shared in my last entry, this work is starting to get broader exposure, with important presentations scheduled, a book chapter published, and a glowing review of my book coming soon.

Early in March, I was delighted to offer a Consciousness-in-Action workshop in Amherst, Massachusetts. Held at Hampshire College, the full-day event was organized by the Undoing Racism Organizing Collective of Western Massachusetts for organizers, activists, educators, students and helping professionals from that region and beyond. It was attended by thirty-seven participants, most of whom had previous anti-oppression training of some sort, including ilé‘s leadership training and/or The People’s Institute’s Undoing Racism Workshop. The group’s understanding of social power coming into the workshop allowed the process to flow and deepen in the relatively short amount of time we had together. Having said that, some of us already feel the need to make this a considerably longer workshop, so we can delve even deeper into the patterns of reactivity identified and further explore contemplative practices as vehicles toward greater  response-ability and well-being. Meanwhile, I really want to thank Judith Feinstein and UROC for inviting me and organizing this event, and Mary Bombardier, director of Hampshire College’s Community Partnership for Social Change, for co-hosting, as well as the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society for their help in announcing the workshop. And, of course, I want to thank all the great people that attended.

As I was getting ready for the workshop, I received an invitation from one of the organizers of the Global Integral International Development Meeting to attend and present at this year’s gathering in Istanbul, Turkey. This will be a meeting with practitioners, activists, scholars, and social change agents involved in integral praxis addressing issues, such as poverty, community development, education, leadership and capacity building, environment and sustainability, economy, human well-being and resilience, among others. So, from April 20-26, I will be in Istanbul to share the consciousness-in-action approach with, and learning from, approximately forty other participants coming in from Africa, Latin America, Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Turkey. Needless to say, I am absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to share with others around the world who are also involved in developing and applying integral approaches toward collective transformation. Many thanks to Gail Hochachka from Drishti: Center for Integral Action (Canada), and Integral Institute (US), for putting this together and for making my participation possible.

So, stay tuned… I’ll be posting impressions and pictures. That is, as soon as I get back home from the Retreat for Activists & Organizers of Color, organized by the Social Justice Program of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. From April 29 to May 2, I’ll be co-facilitating this retreat with my dear colleagues, Rev. Ryumon Gutiérrez Baldoquín, Francisco “Paco” Lugoviña, Sensei, Kyra Bobinet, Shásh Yázhí, and Rose Sackey Milligan. We’ll be at the beautiful Menla Mountain and Retreat Center in upstate New York with a group of about 35 participants, supporting their personal well-being and development, as well as their work and leadership as change agents. There still may be room for activists of color interested in attending, so check it out.

Paco Genkoji Receives Dharma Transmission

My dear friend and colleague, Rev. Francisco Lugoviña, recently received Dharma Transmission from his teacher, Roshi Bernie Glassman of the Zen Peacemaker Order, making him Senior Teacher in the Soto Zen Lineage. Paco, or Genkoji, as he is generally known, is also one of very few Latino/a Zen priests.

I happened to meet Paco, along with Rev. Hilda Gutierrez Baldoquín, another one of those few Latino/a Zen priests, at a gathering of spiritual activists at Garrison Institute in June 2005. The three of us met again last fall when, together with several other veteran spiritual activists, we facilitated a retreat for community organizers and activists organized by another dear friend, Rose Sackey Milligan, director of the Social Justice Program of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. In fact, next week Paco, Rose, the group and I will be meeting again to plan our next retreat for People of Color scheduled for this fall.

My congratulations and heartfelt embrace to Sensei Paco. I look forward to our continued friendship and our work together toward growing this liberation spirituality movement both in the US and here in Puerto Rico.

Buddhist Priest is Successor in Ancient Lineage

February 26, 2007, New York, NY — Rev. Francisco Lugoviña, long-time resident and businessman in the Bronx, New York, was conferred succession in the Soto Zen Lineage and the Zen Peacemaker Order upon receiving Dharma Transmission as Senior Teacher, from his teacher of twelve years, Roshi Bernie Glassman in a ceremony that took place in Montague, Massachusetts at the Mother House of the Zen Peacemaker Order on Sunday, February 25, 2007.

“For me it is the bringing of vocation and avocation together within a spiritual practice that accommodates all paths. My teacher, Bernie Roshi, has charged me with developing a track for social enterprise, drawing on my many years of work as a social activist and as a businessman. The difference is that now there is a deliberate effort to integrate the two streams. It is a sign of the times as I see more and more businesses seeking to recognize that the workplace needs to be more than just a place to make money. People need a deeper gratification and Corporate America seems poised to take this next step,” stated Rev. Lugoviña.

Rev. Lugoviña, generally known as “Paco,” was ordained as a Buddhist priest in the Soto Zen lineage and in the Zen Peacemaker Order in 1996; is a member of the Zen Peacemaker Circles and Peacemaker International; and is the founder of the Hudson River Peacemaker Center-House of One People in Yonkers, New York where he conducts weekly meditation on Mondays and Thursdays, with his associate, Lay Senior Teacher, Grover Genro Gaunt, III. Rev. Lugoviña has participated in pilgrimages—or plunges—to Tibet, to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and in the streets of New York City. He is a member of the Board of the Greyston Foundation, serves on the Executive Committee, and chairs the Pathway Committee.

He arrived in New York at the age of six with his parents from Bayamón, Puerto Rico; attended St. Augustine Elementary School and Morris High School in the Bronx; and graduated from Iona College in New Rochelle. Rev. Lugoviña is in the process of developing an interfaith spiritual retreat center in the hills of Cayey, Puerto Rico on a property imbued with history having once belonged to Dr. Ricardo AlegrIa, the Father of Anthropology of Puerto Rico. Rev. Lugoviña has had his Property Management offices in the Bronx on East 149th Street in “The Hub” for over 30 years. He is also a Governmental Relations and Organizational Development Consultant to various firms.

The Zen Buddhist Branch of which Rev. Lugoviña is a member, was started by Taizen Maezumi Roshi in 1978 as the Zen Center of Los Angeles. Maezumi Roshiis student, Bernie Glassman from Brooklyn, New York, who was at the time employed as an Electronics Engineer with a PhD, became his successor and is best known for taking Engaged Buddhism into the streets, departing from the traditional practice of “just sitting.” Roshi Bernie moved east and founded the Zen Center of New York and later founded the Zen Peacemakers that is dedicated to realizing and actualizing the interconnectedness of life. The effects of Zen practice unfolds in the meditation halls, at work, within families and within community. For the past 25 years Zen Peacemakers have been developing new forms, methods and structures in the areas of peacemaking, social enterprise and Zen practice, emphasizing the transformation of the individual and society. Within this, they work on developing social enterprise structures that are self-sustaining, holistic and address important individual and community needs. Beginning with the Greyston Mandala of social service companies in 1980 in Yonkers, New York, they have built innovative nonprofit and for-profit enterprises that integrate individual transformation along with community growth and that function interdependently to create a balanced and harmonious whole. The key Three Tenets of the Zen Peacemakers are: Not-knowing, Bearing Witness, and Loving Action.

For more information, you can visit Reverend Lugoviña’s website: “http://www.zenhoop.org” and/or “http://www.zenpeacemakers.org” and search “Paco.”