Orlando: Pain of world events – guided meditation and reflection

 Photo: Bryan Ledgard

Photo: Bryan Ledgard

I opened the meditation class on Thursday with some brief words of reflection in the wake of the Orlando shootings last weekend.

The practice of mindfulness prompts us to open to suffering. The meditation I led invites you to open to the pain of tragedies in the world as well as the more private pain of each of our personal situations.

I saw presenters on a UK news channel rejecting Owen Jones’ point that the LGBTQ community was targeted. When the media and politicians claim that it’s not the LGBTQ community being targeted, but all free people and societies, I cannot agree. The Orlando shootings targeted the LGBTQ community.

At the same time that I was leading this meditation, with reflections on the climate of hatred, including homophobia and xenophobia, Jo Cox was being murdered about half a mile from my home. I met Jo a little over a year ago, shortly before she was elected to parliament, and she struck me as a bright and noble soul.

Mindfulness isn’t just about our inner world. We must also practice in our relationships, in our families and in our communities. Mindfulness is most essentially a practice of love and liberation. 

Jo was a humanitarian. She campaigned for human rights in Darfur and Syria. Jo was a true ally. She spoke out against hatred and extremism in all its forms. She was a champion of inclusion, equality and diversity.

One practice of love, of mindfulness, is giving people our caring and curious attention. By taking an interest in, and being open to, others we help create the conditions for them to have a voice, and be loved.