Mindfulness and Staying Woke

To meditate we need to practice mindfulness. And mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake — to stay woke — to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in each moment of our daily life. To be mindful is to be really alive, present and at one with yourself, those around you, and with what you are doing. We bring our body and mind into harmony while we do the mundane such as wash the dishes, drive the car, or take a shower. More difficult is to stay in harmony when communicating and having dialog with other individuals or other communities.

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How can we merge meditative mindfulness with the meaning of staying woke in the African American community? By practicing deeper mindfulness we can stay woke and aware of the continuing concerns of social and racial justice, using mindfulness as a radical means to vigilance and heightened sensitivity in order to act honestly and appropriately.

The term “awake” in the meditation community has been used since ancient times and is usually reserved to mean a level of enlightenment that constitutes being truly awake, for example in Buddhist terms the Pali word “bodhi”. This takes continual practice in mind development but we can certainly develop and experience varying levels of being woke.

Mindfulness takes effort, but it is worth it. The more mindful we are, the more we can truly stay woke and alive — and the more positive changes we can make in ourselves and in others through our deepening understanding of our interconnections and their ramifications. *

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