Racism Is A Habit – First Time Ever – Guided Visualization Loving Kindness Meditation on Race

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Read an Edited Transcript of the Show:

Today, I want to talk about the racism habit. I want to talk about our habits around other, our habits around different, our habits around race, and I want to demonstrate and prove to you how mindfulness can be a powerful solution to counterbalance our tribal instincts, and I am so excited. I have never done this before. I want to give you a powerful exercise. This is the same one that I did for my men in my group coaching program, and I want to tell you why I did it, and the feedback has been awesome, mind blowing, life changing. What else? Awesome, wow. Didn’t think about it from that perspective.

Every Wednesday we do mindfulness training. The reason why we do mindfulness training, because it is my belief that practicing mindfulness is critical if you want to create long-term sustainable results. In other words, you’re not going to be successful without cultivating a mindfulness practice, so every week we do a mindfulness exercise. Right now, forget about COVID, the world has been rocked by the killing of George Floyd.

Wow. That was so, so hard to watch. It was horrific. It was frightening. It’s scary and painful, painful, painful. Hard to watch. Anybody who’s felt that … I don’t connect with the systemic racist part of it, but feeling anybody who, if you connect with feeling controlled, and feeling trapped, and suffocating, woo. That touched just something very visceral in us. Let me be blunt. The Mindful Habit’s position on systemic racism is real. Black lives matter, and we want to be part of the solution.

Listen, if that triggers you, here’s the wonderful thing about triggers. Every time that you get triggered, every time that you have a negative reaction, that is literally an opportunity to grow. I invite you to continue to listen, and just take in where you get value, but here’s the thing. Here’s why this broadcast, I feel, is so important. It’s because racism is a habit. It is a trained conditioned response that sits on top of natural evolutionary tribal instincts.

You’ve got environmental, and you’ve got physiological. That environmental sits upon other bad, other dangerous. Racism is a habit. Here’s the awesome thing about my most proud creation, besides my children, it’s my mindful habit community. It is a melting pot. There are men and women from all walks of life, all races, all religions. One of the biggest takeaways that I have in my heart in helping people for eight years is how, despite all of these perceived differences, we, as humans, have so much more in common with each other than we have differences. There are powerful forces who are trying to exploit those differences.

We have so, so, so much more in common. Let me tell you, listen, and I’ve got a story for every different race. You know, come on man, you’ve got the insults. What are the insults? You may not say them, but you may think them, and even if you don’t think them consciously, you think them subconsciously. We’re going to get to that. Just please continue to keep your mind open, but think about your past, and what your training was. What did you receive? What training did you receive around race, around other, around different?

Think about the slurs that you learned as a child. Obviously, what’s happening lately has brought all this stuff to the surface, and so as I was preparing this podcast, I was thinking of this particular story I want to share with you.

I just got off the phone or a Zoom call with a guy from Pakistan. I mean I’m talking to a guy who the United States invaded a country that housed Osama bin Laden, and I’m going to be real honest. I’m not proud of this. I’m not proud of a lot of the things that I talk about that I’ve done in the past on this podcast, so let’s have a real conversation about this. I get off the phone with a guy. Let me just say it. I get off the phone with a guy, and I think, “My God, we have so, so, so much in common.”

It’s not like this guy said, “Death to America.” Not once. He didn’t say that. He didn’t think that, “Listen, I’ve got Muslim brothers. I got men that I have gotten to know over the years that I consider my brother. Beautiful men, successful men, men who just want to be better fathers, want to be better husbands, want to be more successful in their business, want to leave a better world for their children. What was interesting about that story was it was a positive statement, I’m thinking, but look to where I went. I went right to a terrorist representation, and it was like innate. I didn’t plan it. I didn’t mean to think that.

It just came out. It just popped up, so race is a habit, a trained conditioned response. An opportunity, like every trained condition, just response is to learn about it, to understand it, to grow from it, and to do something about it. Real quick, let me tell you what we here at The Mindful Habit are doing, George, Adrienne, and Sandy. What The Mindful Habit has done is we have given to the NAACP, the Legal Defense Fund. As an attorney, I appreciate the power of having good lawyers, good lawyers who are advocating and using the court system to drive positive change.

That’s where most of the donation went, 80% of it. 20% of it though went to an organization called Blue HELP okay? Blue HELP, and why I chose Blue HELP because Blue HELP is an organization that tries to keep cops from killing themselves, and supporting their families and their communities when they do. The suicide rate is too high. Again, in my world and in my universe, I have a brother-in-law who’s a police officer.

Now, do I have my problems with cops? Do I got a couple stories in my mind of when I was a kid mouthing off, and seeing them push things further than they needed to go, seeing them escalate? Yes I do, and my world is most of them are good people trying to do the right thing. I know that because I got these guys in my program. We’re going to continue to donate. We’ve also increased the number of scholarships that we offer per month by people impacted by racial injustice. I have not figured out how I’m going to implement that, and the protests. If that’s you, don’t hesitate to reach out. Support@themindfulhabit.com, or go to the website.

We’re going to continue to donate money, and we’re going to continue to donate time to causes that reflect the incredible community that have built around me, which is just incredible, just literally, literally, literally a dream come true. We’re doing something different today. What I’m going to share with you is a loving kindness meditation. Part of it borrowed from a spiritual teacher by the name of Ram Dass, and it is a just-like-me guided visualization. It essentially in the loving kindness meditation, you are bringing love and kindness to other people who look differently, who act differently than you, but who, for example, feel pain just like me.

This person experiences fear, and feels like they’re not good enough, and gets triggered, and feels like a failure sometimes, just like me. There are a number of powerful statements, these just-like-me statements, that gets you thinking about giving that loving kindness to someone else, after we’ve done a quick scan regarding what your automatically instantaneously attached to in regards to race.

You’re going to say it to yourself, the different slurs that you have in your mind, and what do you automatically instantaneously see? Then the just-like-me guided visualization. That’s all great, but I’ve gotten great feedback about that, but here’s the curve ball. The curve ball at the end is that we turn that just-like-me love that you’re giving to someone else, that you’re bringing to other, back on yourself, and that’s where it gets heavier, and that’s where it gets deep. Why?

Why deep? Because you can’t give what you don’t have. What this exercise does, this exercise helps show you in a very practical way. It’s going to expose you to the parts of you that self-loathe, and that self-deprecate, the parts of you that are getting in the way of you living your best life. Listen to it. Listen to it. This is something that you’re going to listen to. It’s going to take approximately 30 minutes. Sit down in a chair. Relax. Listen to it, and don’t watch it. One of the things that I’ve learned about myself recently, and we’re going to talk about self-deprecation in another podcast, but I’m now on Twitch.

Twitch is a place where people stream video games, and is also a neat way to connect and it’s a younger audience, also an engaging community, and it’s people doing cooking stuff. Anyway, I started a Twitch channel, and that had me looking at how I perform on camera on my YouTube channel. We’re going to talk about self-deprecation because I’m watching this guy Twitch. Eyes rolling to weird places, this rocking back and forth, and you know where that came from? It came from a [inaudible 00:12:53] that I used about 10 years ago on my downward spiral, using drugs that I think did permanent neurological damage.

We’re going to talk about that self-deprecation, and what came up for me, and yeah, it was just so powerful in that moment feeling so low, feeling so pathetic, feeling so bad, feeling so bad like a piece of shit, piece of shit. Listen to it. Don’t watch it and curse unless you want to see what I’m talking about, and apply some of that self-love to yourself. It’s one of my most powerful meditations that I’ve ever done. Here are the goals. The goals of this guided visualization is to increase the amount of love that you have in your heart for yourself and for others.

In it, we use the suggestive power of the mind and your heart to explore your programming regarding race. You’re going to expose blind spots as you dive deep into your programming around prejudice. We all have it. You’re going to come out of this with practical tools to counter your instinctual tribal instincts. This is a good thing. These tools will help you minimize bias, and counter your barriers to self-love.

You’re going to learn one of the most powerful mindfulness exercises that I have ever discovered, that I’ve ever used. The one that has brought the most joy. One of the ones that have brought the most joy to my life is what I call a humanity habit. So, so powerful, so I really look forward to sharing that with you. In this exercise, you will practice loving kindness for other before turning that love back on yourself, and in so doing, it’s going … It’s a lot. This is a lot, and this is true.

Every time I do one of these mindfulness trainings, very specific, very deliberate, very focused, very intentional in terms of what experience, what outcome I’m looking to create. I don’t nail it all the time. Clearly, I don’t nail it all the time. This one I did. This one I did, so it’s also, in addition to everything I just said, it’s going to expose the protective parts of you that are getting in the way of your deeper love for self. It will expose the protective parts of you that are getting in the way of a deeper love for self.

The output of that deeper love for self, more compassion, more empathy, more self-care, more self-control, more purpose, more connection. The common denominator of every client, every brother that I’ve ever worked with is lack of love for self. I’ll leave you with that. Thank you for listening. Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for being part of my community. Come find me on Twitch. I’m still figuring things out. I’ll tell you, there’s something else that drives me too, let me be honest.

When I was young, my mother, like any mom, what are you doing? Video games, video games video games. The thought of potentially streaming a video game, and even if I earned 50 cents for it, that is very, very exciting to me. Yeah, come find me on Twitch, The Mindful Habit, and thank you so much for listening. I hope you get value from this guided visualization that’s coming up, but now is the time to close your eyes, kick back, relax, and get ready to go on a ride.

This is a loving kindness guided meditation. The goal of this guided visualization is to increase the amount of love that you have in your heart for yourself and for others. The code name for loving kindness meditation is metta, M-E-T-T-A. Why is this important? Studies prove that mindfulness can help us make better judgements. It can help us evaluate a situation more efficiently. A 10-minute mindfulness practice in one study reduced race and age bias on what’s called an Implicit Attitude Test. They believe that that happened because it reduced participants tendencies to automatically activate associations.

Trigger thought. Trigger thought, what we attach to, and in this guided visualization we’re going to examine what you attach to, what are some of your automatic instantaneous thoughts, and with some tools to counterbalance. You will have practical tools to counter our instinctual tribal instincts. This will help you minimize blind spots. You’ll be empowered to make better informed decisions, and be mindful of barriers to making those good decisions.

I also want to remind you of my Always Running 30-day Meditation Challenge. Your 30-day challenge. It’s 30 days for you. What I’d like you to do in those 30 days is for one minute a day, count your breaths. See how high you can get without losing focus. For example, breathe in, breathe out, one. Breathe in, breathe out, two. Breathe in, breathe out, three, etc, etc, simply for 60 seconds a day. Let’s talk about that on the forum because you will learn, and connect with, the barriers to success, the voice in your head telling you not to do it. The voice in your head telling you you’re wasting your time, and of course, all the thoughts that automatically, instantaneously pop into your head throughout the day.

This is about learning to control the monkey mind. When you think about those tribal instincts, and when you think about other, to me that brings me right to the not good enough part that we have. That part that feels not good enough, feels better when it’s being compared to someone else.

I may not be good enough, but I’m better than this person. I’m better than that person. I’m better than that person. It is literally wired into our DNA, and this gives us an opportunity to challenge those automatic instantaneous thoughts, and to live a deeper, more enriching way, and at the end, we’re going to touch on what I call the Humanity Habit, and it has brought incredible joy to my life. In summary, really quick, is when I see someone, and there’s the automatic instantaneous trigger to think other, I’ve trained myself to reflect on what we might have in common.

That has brought incredible joy to my life. It really, honestly have. My heart is bigger because of that experience. I just feel like a better person. That’s what we’re going to talk about at the end. Please open your mind, open your heart, close your eyes, and start to focus, and pay attention to your breath. That’s all you have to do right now. Nothing else. Leave the outside out there. You’re here. 20 minutes, 25 minutes of training your brain. Take a big, big, big deep breath in and let out all the pressures, and pains, and struggles, and confusions, and fear out of your body. Let’s do that a few times. Big inhales. Big exhales.

Let it all out. Before we dive any deeper, I invite you to acknowledge that you’ll be distracted, that you’ll be annoyed, that you will lose focus, and that’s okay. In fact, every time you do, is actually an opportunity to examine our automatic instantaneous attachment. Every time. See that distraction for the opportunity that it is. Welcome it. Celebrate it, and love it. Sitting up nice and tall. Maybe your hands are in your lap. Fingers, arms relaxed. Toes relaxed. Feeling the two bones in your butt pressing into whatever you’re sitting on.

Bring attention and awareness to those two bones in your butt by moving them left, moving a little right, moving forward, moving back, and finding that center. Engage your abdomen. Protect your lower back, shoulders come back and down. Head tilted a little bit forward to elongate your neck. As you become one with that breath going in through your nostrils, down your throat, into your lungs, expanding, feel every nook and cranny of your breath. Feel the expansion of your body, and feel on the inhale, and feel the relaxing cathartic releasing nature of the exhale. There is power in your breath.

Weight evenly distributed left and right. Bringing awareness and attention to the muscles in your face. Relax them. Release all tension. Your mouth, your jaw, your tongue, your temples, your eyes. You are physically unable to talk right now because you have released all the tension. You have to re-grip it in order to move your mouth, your tongue, your lips. As your focus on your breath grows, feel your eyes relax in their sockets. Picture yourself releasing all the muscles that are keeping them in place, that prevent you from bumping your head. Your eyes popping out.

Release all those muscles from all the way back to all the way forward, around the eye, the eyebrows, and notice the power of the breath, and you focus on your inhale, and release on the exhale. Your forehead, that’s furrowed. Breathe into your forehead and release. Obviously, you can’t breathe into any other part of your body besides in your nose, down your throat, into your lungs, and what I mean by that is focus as much attention and energy as you can for example, on your temples on the inhale. On the exhale, release the muscles around your temple.

On the inhale, focus your attention on your mouth, on your lips, your gums. On the exhale, release that tension. Bring an awareness and attention to your jaw on the inhale. Each second of the breath more focused, more attention, and then releasing that powerful muscle on the exhale, feeling the release down into your neck, and your shoulders, and up as well. Let’s do that a few more times inhale, focus on the jaw. Release each time a layer of tension. Feel that each time you do what you’re doing, there is a little more tension released in your jaw.

Each breath relaxing you, taking you deeper into you. Today we focus on your identity. I’d like you, over the course of the next few minutes, to reflect on your identity in terms of race. What group do you fall into? What are the official names for that bucket that you fall into? What are maybe some of the painful slurs that people say about you? While there may be an instinctual aspect to us, as humans, around safety for other, I’d like you to go back to one of our earliest childhood memories that you may have around race, whether it was yours, whether it was someone else’s.

Over the course of the next few minutes, we’re going to reflect and bring a conscious awareness to our training. How are you trained to judge others, or to see others? Maybe there was some good, healthy training. Maybe there was intended or unintended racism. We’re not judging. Please do not judge, just reflect on the training that you received around race. Maybe there’s an incident that memorializes that training for you. Maybe there’s a story or a stories that you are thinking about that reminds you of the training that you received around other.

Without any judgment, criticism, condemnation or scorn, bask in those memories, or memory. Reflect on the names for other that were taught to you. Notice as we think of each negative category, what image pops up into your head, so you can reflect on the racial slur or insult, and then notice the image that automatically, instantaneously pops up into your mind. Bring awareness and intention to when you feel either superior or inferior. As you reflect and breath into the words that you were trained on, think in your childhood how you used those words.

Hanging out with your buddies, talking about somebody, seeing somebody, whatever, innocence, or just reflecting on the training. Your history and how you were trained to see other. If your mind wanders, just gently bring it back to the breath. If anything becomes too triggering, open your eyes, or bring your focus and attention back to your breath. Your body, your rules. Just think of the positive and negative training that you received as a child. Try to picture the event or events as you remember them. As you think of words you were taught to describe other, say those slurs in your mind.

Again, note, without judgment, the image that automatically instantaneously pops into your mind. Allow your mind to wander as you get older, as maybe some of that training got repressed and got stuffed down, and you grew, so in your mind’s eye, think of those same words as an adult. Note without judgment the automatic instantaneous flashes that your mind presents to you. Note the words or phrases that when you’re the most angry that you’ve ever been, that come up to the tip of your tongue, and maybe out your mouth, when you’re upset with someone, or angry with someone.

Does that divisive, mindless, automatic, instantaneous reaction still present itself today? There’s nothing wrong with that. Of course it does. It’s what we do with that automatic instantaneous reaction. It’s how we treat others, and how we teach our children. In you mind, or out loud if you’d like, repeat these phrases as we continue our loving kindness meditation. Think about other as you do, as you recite these phrases. Have a clear picture of what that other looks like, and where your greatest opportunity lies as you think about this person.

This person has a body and a mind just like me. This person has feelings, emotions, and thoughts just like me. This person has at some time been sad, disappointed, angry, or hurt just like me. This person has experienced physical and emotional pain and suffering just like me. This person has felt unworthy or inadequate just like me. This person worries and is frightened sometimes just like me. This person has felt not good enough just like me. This person will die just like me.

This person has longed for friendship just like me. This person has experienced shame and embarrassment just like me. This person has longed for friendship just like me. This person is learning about life just like me. This person wants to be caring and kind to others just like me. This person wants to be content with what life has given them just like me. This person wishes to be free from pain and suffering just like me. This person gets triggered, has negative thoughts, and reacts without thinking sometimes just like me. This person wishes to be happy just like me. This person wishes to be loved just like me.

Now, allow wishes for well-being to arise in your heart. I wish this person to have the strength, resources and social support they need to navigate the difficulties in life with ease. I wish this person to be free from pain and suffering. I wish this person to be peaceful and happy. I wish this person to be loved because this person is a fellow human just like me. Now, direct and channel that love for other, and bring it back to your heart, and repeat after me.

Out loud or in your heart, “May I have loving kindness. May I have love, peace, strength, and success. May I have the strength to overcome all obstacles. I am one with myself. I love myself. Breathe into that statement as maybe you repeat it or reflect on it. I love myself, over and over again. Breathing into the essence of those words. Feeling the warmth of those words spreading in your body like a love virus. Spreading and replicating. I love myself. Note the barriers and the blocks as you breathe into and say, “I love myself.”

Feeling those words permeate each cell. Feeling that sentence. Heal the darkness, the callous, the scarred, the broken. The warmth and the bright light of love and compassion. I love myself. Each breath deepening your connection to this truth. I love myself. Feel the muscles in your face relax. Feel those words fill each breath, multiplying and growing until it’s all of you. Notice if there happen to be any parts that are fighting, that are resisting. Thank those protectors for trying to help you. They’re just afraid, doing what they’re trained. Let them know that you love them too.

I love myself, and setting intention to act on that love. What can you do for you to prove that you believe that statement, that you know it to be true, that you know it is the only path to long-term sanity and success. Setting intention to actually love yourself. You’ve already helped prove it by listening, by prioritizing this time for you. Thank yourself. Pat yourself on the back. Congratulations. This is the end of our loving kindness mediation.

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