Shastri Charlene Leung and Ms. Michaela McCormick
With Mr. Robert Pressnall
April 1 (9am-5pm) & April 2 (9am-2pm with lunch provided)
(please plan to attend both days)
Boulder Shambhala Center
How does the invisible edge of unconscious social bias keep us from becoming the welcoming Shambhala culture that we long to be? How do our blindspots impact others? How can we see what we don’t see?
When we open our hearts and look honestly at the myriad attitudes and beliefs we've inherited over lifetimes, we glimpse the invisible edge of unconscious social bias. Our biases tint the water we swim in - our expressions of body speech and mind - and create blind spots as we sense people of a different race, class, clan, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, or physical, mental or perceptual characteristics.
Overwhelming evidence shows that our social systems advantage some and disadvantage others. It takes community to move beyond the uncertain territory of societal cocoons to liberation. We can't do this work alone, we need community. When we are able to bear witness to ourselves and to one another, we make societal healing possible, inevitable.
In this weekend program for Shambhala Center leaders, members and Shambhala educators, we aim to create a brave and caring space. Can we explore emotionally charged topics that arise when we look closer at socially constructed hierarchies? What are they? How do they affect us, individually and collectively?
Our ground is unconditional wakefulness infused with caring warmth. Our focus is the intersectionality of multiple social identities. Our path is the exploration of invisible edges. Meditation, experiential exercises, journaling, and multi-media can help us unmask the veils of bias. We trace our edges through feeling, more than concept. We learn to trust the wisdom held in our bodies, so that we act in ways that change the fabric of society.
“Whether or not we can understand one another linguistically, culturally, and emotionally, if we all have an immovable conviction in our worthiness to occupy the human heart, then naturally we will feel connected. We can use our interconnectedness to cultivate human dignity — the bedrock of all diversity.However, if we fail to see global interdependence and diversity as positive binding factors, it will be hard to build a culture of kindness.”
-The Shambhala Principle, pg. 156, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
Shastri Charlene Leung has been a student of Shambhala since the early 1980’s and was appointed Shastri in 2010. Since 2009, she serves as the Chairperson of the Diversity Working Group for Shambhala International. In addition to teaching and mentoring in Shambhala, she co-facilitates groups for the UNtraining, an organization devoted to healing personal and social oppressions. She practices Chinese medicine and teaches qi gong in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ms. Michaela McCormick has been a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche since 2005. She is the Diversity Coordinator for the Portland Oregon Shambhala Meditation Center, co-leader of Queer Dharma, a meditation instructor, a teacher of introductory classes, and a member of the Diversity Working Group of Shambhala International. For 25 years she worked as a teacher, trainer, and practitioner of conflict resolution and public dialogue. For longer than that she has been a community organizer/activist. Michaela is active with UNtraining.
Mr. Robert Pressnall has been a dharma student since the 1970’s, and a Shambhala teacher since the ‘80’s. He is the former Head of Practice and Education in Northern California and is a member of the Shambhala International Diversity Working Group. He taught 8th grade English and U.S. History for thirty years in a school district that had no racial majority. He is also active with UNtraining.