on the dharma shelf | october 2017

Pedagogy of Hope: Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed — Paulo Freire

“No, my hope is necessary. But it is not enough. Alone it does not win but without it my struggle will be weak and wobbly. We need critical hope like a fish needs unpolluted water.”

The Sovereignty of Quiet: Beyond Resistance in Black Culture — Kevin Quashie

“Resistance may be deeply resonant with black culture and history, but it is not sufficient for describing the totality of black humanity.

In humanity, quiet is our dignity. This quiet is represented by our interior…In its magnificence, quiet is an invitation to consider black cultural identity from somewhere other than the conceptual places that we have come to accept as definitive of and singular to black culture—not the “hip personality” exposed to and performed for the world, but the interior aliveness, the reservoir of human complexity that is deep inside…

It is this exploration, this reach toward the inner life, that an aesthetic of quiet makes possible; and it is this that is the path to a sweet freedom: a black expressiveness without publicness as its forbearer, a black subject in the undisputed dignity of its humanity.”

As a contemplative and empath who has a heart for justice, liberation and healing, this excerpt from Kevin Quashie’s book rings loud and true for me!

Don’t mistake someone’s deep-soul need (or preference or disposition) for quiet/silence as passivity or inaction. In my practice, the opposite of active is not passive. It is receptive.

Some of us need to time to cut through the noise in order to thoroughly digest and reflect on the energy and information we receive. So I value and facilitate processes of discernment and self-inquiry that help us transform “silence into language and action” (in the words of the powerhouse Audre Lorde). From this place of quiet introspection, we can cull insight, clarity and resilience to move from personal healing and transformation toward skillful action.

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