Buddhism teaching

A Juneteenth Meditation Teaching – Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

The radical imagination is a concept and an action. It is our ability to imagine the world as it might otherwise be. For us to practice this concept, we cannot do it alone. As individuals, we cannot daydream and call it an act of radical imagination, no matter how rare or atypical the thoughts are. The radical imagination is generated collectively, through our encounters and our shared exchanges. It is an act of collaborative creation.

It’s like sharing the same dream, but not a dream generated by a person who presents different characters. It’s more like a big dream that has space for billions of dreams that imprint on each other to form the space of that big dream.

We must practice the activity of radical imagination as a community to develop the necessary actions that would radically transform an inequitable system. We need to practice this radical imaginative activity, if for no other reason, and then create transformative systems.

To embark on radical imagination, we are going to need transformative learning. All it means is the expansion of consciousness through the transformation of our basic worldview and specific abilities of self. To engage in transformative learning, we need to assess the unconscious parts of ourselves and analyze our underlying assumptions.

Transformative learning involves experiencing deep structural changes in the premises – the very beliefs – of our thoughts, feelings and actions. It is a change of consciousness which radically and irreversibly modifies our way of being in the world.

Photos courtesy of Brittany Micek

Such change involves understanding ourselves and the positions we occupy, our relationships with other humans and with the natural world, our understanding of power relations within the interconnected structures of class, race and gender, our consciousness body, our views on alternative approaches to living, and our sense of possibilities for social justice, peace, and personal joy.

What does all this have to do with meditation? What is the relationship between radical imagination and meditation? How can meditation bring about transformative learning, which creates transformative systems?

Breath is insight – it is the very embodiment of self-existing wisdom.

Through constant practice of meditation, we realize that, in essence, there is only the breath. It is the breath of the universe flowing through everything. You can think of the breath as a big dream.

Imagine that.

This article was originally published on June 18, 2021.

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