I can’t just point my finger at all the cases of police brutality. This may sound crazy, but the folks I find myself practicing Tonglen for first are police officers Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and other officers, as well as George Floyd and others meeting death in savage, inhumane ways. How on earth did these officers think that what they were doing was OK, “equally” protecting the lives of all citizens? How are we as a society (you and I) contributing to macro and micro acts of violence on a smaller scale in the places we hold power?
I want to remember that not all police officers are like those who are getting the greatest publicity right now, that there are those who have deep respect and reverence for African American lives. And, this is also a wake-up call for more training and awareness, not just for the “guilty” officers, but for us all. As you are moved to demonstrate the yang of fierce compassion in whatever way you feel is right, please be a contemplative warrior for meaningful change looking at the 3 fingers pointing back at you when it’s so easy to place blame elsewhere.
Here is one way you might consider growing in awareness, making an intentional shift from racial innocence and distress to racial literacy and harmony within community.