Mindfulness and Charlie Hebdo: 'Je Suis Tout le Monde'

January 20, 2015 4:19 PM

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At the recent antiterrorism rally in Paris in response to the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, participants wore signs saying "I am Charlie Hebdo" and "I am a Jew" in solidarity with those who were targeted by Islamic extremists. At the same time, France was rocked by anti-Muslim violence in retaliation for the attacks. It's so tempting to reduce events of this kind to a simplistic us vs. them rhetoric, as if this makes the situation easier to address and resolve, which of course it does not. But there's a deeper opportunity here, an invitation to look beneath the surface and find our solidarity not just with those who agree with or resemble us, but with everyone, no matter their skin color or religion. Not just "je suis Charlie," but "je suis tout le monde."

As a teacher of mindfulness, I'm inevitably prompted to wonder how the practice of present moment awareness can help open up our perspective and relieve our suffering. With regular meditation practice, we become more and more aware of the beliefs and preconceptions that color and distort our percept...

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