Updated: May 6, 2021
Meditation is a self-care practice that challenges our ability to sit in stillness with ourselves. With meditation we are able to differentiate between when we are being mindful and when our mind is simply just full. It is the natural human condition to entertain and preoccupy ourselves. When we make meditation a habit we are deliberately slowing down and observing what is happening within. This is scientifically proven to help us pay better attention in the present moment, not get caught up in reactive emotions, and can help us ground ourselves when experiencing anxiety or something unpleasant in our lives. Meditation is not meant to be a controlling or rigid experience and it’s also not about specific postures or achieving a specific state of mind. Meditation is about being exactly who we are, where we are. It is about accepting ourselves, radically, and opening to more self-assuring feelings of inner peace, calm, safety, trust, and dignity. These feelings can then be extended outwardly to the people in our lives and around the world. How do we meditate? There is no one way, or one answer. If you feel you want to lay down or keep your eyes open, do that. There are many different kinds of meditation practices you can learn but they are all rooted in being equanimous, kind, and concentrated on finding your inner clarity. Imagine observing your thoughts like how you observe the water flowing through a river.
Meditation practices parallel many of the principles and truths of restorative practice. For instance, deep listening is the act of listening without offering advice or judgement in return. This can apply to ourselves or when speaking to others. Both meditation and restorative practices require deep listening for lasting change. Listening without judgment invites self-healing of our mind, body, spirit, and emotions. When we deeply listen to others we begin to heal our community. Another example is the idea that small changes can produce big impacts. Restorative justice is rooted in this belief because it is a cultural shift away from the status quo in handling human interaction and conflict. Using affective language, fostering healthy relationships, or spending our time working towards a collective good, might be seemingly small changes in our decision making, but they add up, and can be used to influence change over time. Lastly, meditation and restorative practices are similar in that they both aim to benefit all people. Meditation teaches us how to be still amongst the chaos and restorative practices teach us how to move through the chaos while centering healing, connection, and continued improvements where needed.
Cover Art & post by: Melissa Peña
2020-2021 MSW Intern