INTEGRATING MEDITATION-BASED CLINICAL PRACTICES, LIBERATORY PEDAGOGY, AND INDIGENOUS CONTEMPLATIVE PRACTICES.
Our curriculum aims to support personal and societal transformation through contemplative practice. Specifically, the curriculum is designed to 1) promote psychosocial health and resilience through meditation training, 2) foster restorative dialogue around the sociopolitical factors that maintain inequality and violence in Colombia in order to support a sense of agency in participants towards the healing of their communities, and 3) provide participants with the foundational tools necessary to sustain their own daily meditation practice and a continuing commitment to personal and societal transformation.
This curriculum will run for nine weeks with weekly meetings and take-home practices. We have adapted meditation and didactic content from leading evidence-based mindfulness and compassion meditation-based clinical programs (like Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) with a sensitivity to the population and culture. This content will be used to provide individuals with practical tools for cultivating individual mental and physical health, as well as compassion and forgiveness towards themselves and others.
In order to support the healing and sustainability of peace in home communities, this curriculum will also incorporate an anti-oppressive educational component. This will provide a decolonized history that centers the experiences of marginalized members of Colombian society in order to address the systemic structures that have driven long-term exposure to social trauma and inequity in home communities. While an anti-oppressive education is not a part of traditional meditation-based clinical programs, this curriculum posits that this component is necessary for addressing the institutional and systemic foundations of psychological distress present in marginalized communities.
Our curriculum employs a novel approach that integrates Indigenous Colombian contemplative practices with liberatory education and meditation-based clinical practices. Specifically, we will integrate the standard structure of a weekend meditation retreat with a ritual visit to natural Colombian spaces done in collaboration with local indigenous leaders. These visits will involve reconnecting with ancestral Colombian traditions that introduce participants to practices for cultivating a felt sense of care between people and the land. These practices will be integrated with the weekly content in order to amplify participants’ motivations for cultivating peace, forgiveness, and healing through a sense of connection with the natural world and with the Indigenous communities that have preserved the land for generations. We propose that along with these cognitive-emotional benefits, the inclusion of Indigenous Contemplative practices aims to visibilize the histories, identities, and knowledge of indigenous communities in order to recognize and heal the systemic structures that have caused the violence and separation we inherit today.
Together, these complementary strategies converge on a novel framework for helping individuals address personal and systemic suffering while grounding themselves in a personal and caring relationship with the natural world. We predict that this fusion of practices can promote psychosocial well-being and a personal sense of responsibility to sustaining peace through the integration of individual psychological healing and an emergent ecological and sociopolitical awareness. In this nature, we aim to model a holistic approach to individual and societal transformation that centers the voices and practices of historically marginalized peoples.