"Racism is a heart disease," writes Ruth King, "and it's curable." Exploring a crucial topic seldom addressed in meditation instruction, this revered teacher takes to her pen to shine a compassionate, provocative, and practical light into a deeply neglected and world-changing domain profoundly relevant to all of us.
With Mindful of Race, Ruth King offers:
Tend first to our suffering, listen to what it is trying to teach us, and direct its energies most effectively for change.
Here, she invites us to explore:
Ourselves as racial beings, the dynamics of oppression, and our role in racism
• The power of paying homage to our most turbulent emotions, and perceiving the wisdom they hold
• Key mindfulness tools to understand and engage with racial tension
• Identifying our "soft spots" of fear and vulnerability—how we defend them and how to heal them
• Embracing discomfort, which is a core competency for transformation
• How our thoughts and emotions "rigidify" our sense of self—and how to return to the natural flow of who we are
• Body, breath, and relaxation practices to befriend and direct our inner resources
• Identifying our most sensitive "activation points" and tending to them with caring awareness
• "It’s not just your pain"—the generational constellations of racial rage and ignorance and how to work with them
• And many other compelling topics
Drawing on her expertise as a meditation teacher and diversity consultant, King helps readers of all backgrounds examine with fresh eyes the complexity of racial identity and the dynamics of oppression. She offers guided instructions on how to work with our own role in the story of race and shows us how to cultivate a culture of care to come to a place of greater clarity and compassion.
About the Author
Ruth King is an international teacher in the Insight Meditation tradition, a recognized diversity consultant to leaders and organizations, a life coach, and the author of Healing Rage: Women Making Inner Peace Possible (Gotham, 2007). She created the Mindful of Race training program and is the founder of Mindful Members Insight Meditation Community of Charlotte, North Carolina. More at ruthking.net.
“Although the book is directed toward an audience already interested in antiracist work and meditation, King’s keen advice will be impactful for anyone looking to deepen a meditation practice or invest further in racial awareness and justice.” —Publishers Weekly
“This wonderfully insightful book has challenged me to think more deeply about what is required of us individually and collectively, as we struggle to face the challenges presented by our racial history with greater courage, compassion, and creativity. I’ll be contemplating this guidance—and putting some of it into practice—in the months and years to come.” —Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
“This powerful and penetrating book offers us healing medicine for the great suffering of racism. Ruth King, a deeply wise and caring Buddhist teacher and diversity consultant, not only helps us understand the complexity of our great racial divide, she offers a core of practices, reflections, and actions that gives us hope for transformation. Our world needs this book. We need this book. Please read with a receptive heart, and share with all you know!” —Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge
“It is not possible to have justice without healing the body that has experienced injustice. And it is not possible to heal without transforming this unjust system. In Mindful of Race, King explores the impact of racial injustice on communities at the margins. She further illustrates practices Black people can embody to support our longevity and dignity. This book belongs in the hands of every activist—regardless of race! We need to develop a new language, a language that centers healing and restoration.” —Patrisse Cullors, cofounder of Black Lives Matter and author of When They Call You a Terrorist
“In Mindful of Race, Ruth King accomplishes a rare feat: she offers us an incredibly accessible, relatable, and useful guide for addressing the range of ways we internalize racist messages. She also beautifully lays out the common thoughts and feelings that function—despite our best intentions—to protect rather than ameliorate racism. In so doing, she has made engaging with this text a deeply affective as well as intellectual experience. Perhaps most importantly, King addresses the emotional and spiritual impacts of racism that are so rarely addressed in workshops and textbooks, but that are critical to our collective and personal healing. King includes reflection exercises and discussion questions, making this a very useful guide for a range of settings. Mindful of Race is a brilliant and unique addition to the struggle for racial justice.” —Robin DiAngelo, PhD, author of White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
“Mindful of Race is an important addition to the growing body of literature Black Americans in the 21st century are publishing to create a bridge between East and West and heal generational racial suffering for all of humanity. King’s approach is revolutionary in the deepest sense because it addresses our racial problems at their root, which is consciousness or the mind itself. Mindful of Race is rich in anecdotes and examples that will, I believe, cause a reader to smile and perhaps even say, ‘Thank you.’ Mindful of Race is a trustworthy guide for claiming our birthright—happiness and freedom.” —Charles Johnson, PhD, author of Middle Passage and Taming the Ox: Buddhist Stories and Reflections on Politics, Race, Culture, and Spiritual Practice
“Powerfully relevant, timely, and accessible, Ruth King's Mindful of Race is a great contribution. She speaks from her wealth of experience to show how mindfulness and empathy can help us understand the effects of racism, and move toward its ending. A must-read for everyone.” —Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Love
“In Mindful of Race, Ruth King boldly declares, ‘Racism is a heart disease that’s curable.’ She then proceeds to guide us on a three-part journey to healing. In doing so, King brings all of her compassionate insight, talent, and grit to bear. This is a book for the ages, and it is exactly what the world needs now.” —Jan Willis, author of Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist and Buddhist—One Woman’s Spiritual Journey
“Ruth King brilliantly breaks down one of the most complex experiences of human suffering—racism and racial oppression—with the transformational life skills of mindfulness and Buddhist practice. Like the aspects of insight and concentration in meditation, she provides a laser focus in rebuilding our collective humanity using universal potentials of awareness and kindness in all of our hearts and minds. Ruth’s book is a must-read, must-practice, must-live experience.” —Larry Yang, author of Awakening Together
“This masterful and courageous book is a gift offered from the searing depths of America’s ancestral racist wound. Its truth telling, both profoundly insightful and challenging, with its compassionate means and liberating goal, makes Mindful of Race a clarifying and necessary addition to every home, school, and university curriculum. Ruth King's authentic writing invites us to meet her with vulnerability and honesty while at the same time inspiring us to faithfully engage the urgent task of accountability and racial healing. While having immediate appeal to those familiar with mindfulness, this highly practical book goes far beyond a clique audience. This is a book for everyone. Pick it up, read it, live with it, and share it on.” —Thanissara, author of Time to Stand Up: An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth
“In her outstanding new book Mindful of Race, Ruth King explores the role of mindfulness in understanding the suffering of racism and the power of mindfulness for healing that corrosive conditioning. This is an arena of profound challenges, and her many years of meditative practice provide a depth of insight and wisdom that illuminates the work we all must do. Mindful of Race is a wonderfully pragmatic and inspiring guide on this journey of transformation. Highly recommended.” —Joseph Goldstein, author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening
“Important medicine, wise, heartfelt, both demanding and comforting. With many tools for the real work on racism we need in these polarized times.” —Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart
“Ruth King's work has had a positive impact on me personally and is highly influential in our community, Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. As we all strive to end suffering and confusion, Mindful of Race is more than just a great book, it's a map to freedom.” —Noah Levine, author of Dharma Punx and Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries
“Mindful of Race presents a remedy to the pain that has cut across us as human beings and has left a seemingly indelible scar upon our hearts. King boldly states that this mark can be dissolved! With great care she carries us to the place in which we can rest and heal the racial divide. Deep bows!” —Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, author of The Way of Tenderness: Awakening Through Race, Sexuality, and Gender
“Acknowledging the prevailing wisdom of the past while building an enduring bridge to a new future, in Mindful of Race, Ruth King invites us to discover and uncover the hurtful truth of our collective and chronic heart disease—racism. To be mindful of race day to day, minute to minute, gives us endless opportunity to pause, reflect, and then act in ways that heal and connect rather than harm and destroy. I wholeheartedly recommend you take this journey alone and together with others who truly want racism to end in our lifetime.” —Barbara E. Riley, EdD, co-creator of Integral Matters™: Thriving on Difference and author of Are You Ready for Outrageous Success? Enter the 7 Chambers and Find Deep Lasting Change
“Mindful of Race is a breath of fresh air by which everyone can find a way to contribute to healing racial pain and divisiveness. By applying mindfulness practice to address racism, Ruth King provides one of the most exciting, hopeful, and useful applications of mindfulness for our times. The book shows how each of us can look within so that contributing to overcoming racism is not a burden, it is an expression of our compassion, wisdom, and mutual respect.” —Gil Fronsdal, author of The Issue At Hand: Essays on Buddhist Mindfulness Practice