Medito Foundation's stance on racism

May 23, 2021 — Michael Martin
Medito Foundation's stance on racism

Medito Foundation's mission is to create a more mindful world. We believe that discrimination cannot exist in a mindful world, because mindfulness is a tool to overcome prejudice and discrimination within ourselves. In order to foster mindfulness and wellbeing in our communities, we also believe that it is necessary to provide support specifically to those who are victims of discrimination.

We took our first steps toward providing this support by establishing Medito Foundation’s Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Board, and by publishing our Empowerment pack which focuses on anti-racism and self-care. The D&I Board participates in the development of every piece of Medito content and improves it through their experience and insight regarding systemic discrimination. The Empowerment pack is just the beginning of the supportive content that Medito will offer.

On rare occasions, we have received critical feedback about the anti-racism content on Medito. We provide this material for our users who experience marginalization because they often encounter additional barriers due to hostile environments. Every one of us experiences unfair treatment occasionally or even often, and Medito offers resources to deal with these situations in a mindful manner. However we believe that additional support is needed for the unique challenges faced by individuals subjected to the pervasive harm of racism.

Medito offers courses on Anxiety, Low Moods, Relationships, and more. All of our content may not be relevant for every user, but we hope that every user can find something relevant to their needs. We believe that mindfulness involves learning about taking agency of one's own condition in the world, and letting go of the unhelpful judgment of others when we can never know another person's full story or live a day in their shoes. In that spirit we ask our users to be critical of their own biases, and supportive of others who face different needs and circumstances.

Medito continually strives to make mental wellbeing resources more inclusive and to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse set of individuals, communities, cultures and even occupations. We welcome recommendations for content that will help us support additional needs through mindfulness.

On the other hand, we do not feel it is appropriate to acknowledge feedback that suggests restricting our support for any group that faces prejudice or disrimination. Responding would only provide a platform to increase the visibility of bigotry, which is antithetical to our Objectives, Commitments, and Diversity & Inclusion Statement. Racism and discrimination are never acceptable and we have a zero tolerance policy toward them on our platforms.

Rather than engaging with individual comments, we believe it is typically more beneficial to spend our resources on furthering the current social dialogue on racism. By opening up the discussion to a multitude of perspectives we can ensure that a more complete picture of the issue is formed, and that no one gets left out.

Medito Foundation recognizes that in order to fulfill our mission, we must continue to expand our resources for marginalized communities. Medito's development is steered in part by our D&I Board members, who help ensure representation in our content and growth. Medito Foundation is continually committed to increasing our offering of Anti-Racism resources. In addition, we look forward to connecting with survivors of racism and their allies in new ways in the near future, by facilitating meaningful conversations about the intersection of anti-racism and mindfulness on social media and other channels. Medito Foundation recognizes that compassion and self-agency have been a part of the mindfulness and meditation tradition for thousands of years. Spiritual classics in many traditions recognize the importance of non-judgement and the liberation of every individual.

One famous example is the Indian spiritual classic The Bhagavad Gita which takes place in a cultural context of meditation and mindfulness, and which greatly influenced further developments such as Buddhism.

In this story, the character Krishna is understood to be the embodiment of the Supreme God. Over several scenes Krishna reveals knowledge of the universe to the protagonist Arjuna. One topic that Krishna teaches is about the Brahman - an omnipresent life force that pervades every aspect of the universe. He teaches that he himself is the Brahman, and that so is every human and creature on Earth.

Many readers may be familiar with the maxim of the Golden Rule: "Treat others as you would like them to treat you." This bit of wisdom isn't dissimilar from the concept of karma, and Krishna frequently evokes a similar sentiment in The Bhagavad Gita.

For example, Krishna tells Arjuna:

"Others follow the path of jnana, spiritual wisdom. They see that where there is One, that One is me; where there are many, all are me; they see my face everywhere."

Krishna reiterates this message many times in many ways:

“Having hands and feet everywhere; having eyes, head, and face everywhere; having ears everywhere; the creator exists in the creation by pervading everything.”

Krishna frequently reminds Arjuna that he, too, is the One. In this worldview, all beings share a fundamental identity in common that is obscured by the subjective experience of being an individual. Even as individuals, however, we still are interlinked by complex interactions of cause-and-effect - like pool balls on a billiard table.

These lessons illustrate the power of mutualism: Good karma comes back around. Taking care of our health means we can take care of others. Taking care of our communities means our communities are able to support us. Whether you interpret karma literally or not, it's easy to understand that a community that works to support everyone will be more stable and ultimately more prosperous than a community that works for the benefit of only a select group.

As Arjuna stood pitched over a soon-to-be battlefield of cataclysmic proportion, Krishna explained that he was even present in Arjuna's enemies, including those who would fall to his hand in battle. Likewise, the Golden Rule doesn't have a limit. It doesn't say, "Treat others who are just like you as you would like them to treat you." Communities are most resilient when they work together and let their diversity be a strength.

In the philosophic study of phenomenology, there is a concept known as Othering. Othering is the mental process that leads to the concept of in-groups and out-groups. People see others in their in-group as the same as themselves, and everyone else becomes seen as a part of the "other." Othering can be seen in the tribalistic mentality of many cultures throughout history. Through mindfulness, we can recognize this process - and even stop it. A mindful society has no need for discrimination because it understands the value in every individual.

Medito celebrates diversity while discouraging the artificial barriers that individuals create in order to justify discrimination. We are committed to promoting the former, and believe that mindfulness is the antidote for the latter.