Welcome to GuruMojo Podcast number ten! I’m your host, Kenny Jenkins, and it is my job to bring you the wisdom and insights that I have discovered along my path to becoming a happier, and more compassionate person. GuruMojo is a concept that acknowledges everyone’s ability to take charge of their own spiritual life by deciding which ideas resonate with them.
When I sat down to talk with Yhang at Wildcrafters, it was March 9th (2020) about a week before the pandemic started to hit here in the US. It wasn’t quite headline news, but it was getting there, so it might be kind of weird to hear a conversation that doesn’t mention it. Things have changed so much in just a few months.
Currently, as I record this intro on June 7th, we are seeing this country try to come to grips with so much racial injustice. It has barely been two weeks since George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis. Even calling it “racial injustice” seems too sterile to me. It belittles the reality that in this country, white cops are murdering black men all the time, and have been for hundreds of years. Is that right? Yes, HUNDREDS of YEARS. It makes me angry and it makes me sad. But what can I do about it, I’ve wondered. It does seem like this wave of protests is getting attention. With everyone having a phone and social media, this is getting more attention than ever before. That technology is why we can see so many of the murders taking place at all. Now we can see with our own eyes that this is happening when before all we had was the officer’s word against the victim’s word and they can’t talk because they’re dead. And the cops say it was justified and that’s the end of it. For HUNDREDS of YEARS!
As Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” I believe that to be true. So many things that were terribly wrong with our moral compass have started to be corrected over time. When you look back over history, things we take for granted now would never have been talked about, much less put to a vote. Gay marriage, most recently, was not talked about as an actual possibility just 20-30 years ago. Interracial marriage was illegal in some states until a Supreme Court decision in 1967, and that’s me! My wife and I are an interracial couple and to imagine that when we got married in 2001, it would have been illegal just 34 years previous. We have two kids that wouldn’t exist if that was the case!
Women didn’t have the right to vote in this country until 1920! And Looking it up I see that they weren’t allowed to vote in France until 1944, 1952 in Greece, and in Switzerland, women were not allowed to vote until 1971! Really?!!
So the arc of the moral universe is indeed long, but to say that it bends towards justice, which it does, is not to say that we merely have to watch it and do nothing. I’m starting to realize that you just can’t “set it and forget it”. We need to do something to help it along. I found a great resource through Jack Kornfield that I’ll share. On jackkornfield.com, he links to an article called, “75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice” It’s a good read even if you are not a white person. Anyone who is wondering what they can do to help may find some good ideas there.
Also, Jack has started to stream his Monday Night Dharma Talks from the Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Get on his mailing list or check out the spirit rock FB page for more info on that.
Now before I play this conversation with Yhang, I want to offer up a really helpful breathing exercise that I’ve been using recently. It is great for calming anxiety, and I use it throughout the day just as a good grounding exercise. Also, I’ll use it if I have too many thoughts in my head when I’m trying to get to sleep at night.
What you do is to slow down your breathing just a bit, to where you have to control it. Use whatever count seems right for you, but you breathe in slowly and hold your breath at the top of your breath, then let it out and exhale slowly and then hold your breath at the end of the exhale. You can try it with me now. Go ahead and breathe in for 12345678, then hold your breath for 12345678, exhale 12345678, and hold 12345678, in 2345678, hold2345678, out 2345678, hold 2345678.
And that’s it. If you do that cycle for 10 breaths, your blood pressure goes down, you feel better. Do 20 or 30 breaths and see if it works for you. Keep the timing so that the exercise is a gentle one, don’t over-exert yourself, take it easy. Life is already hard enough.
And now that you are hopefully grounded and chill, sit back and enjoy this conversation with the amazing Yhang Quintero….. And be aware that as this is a conversation between two adults, so there is always the possibility of adult language….
All right! Come check out Yhang and the crew down at Wildcrafters in Jax, or if you don’t live in Jacksonville, maybe check to see if there is a booze-free bar in your city that you can support!
And don’t forget to check me out on Instagram @gurumojome and maybe consider supporting the podcast on Patreon.com/gurumojo
Thank you so much for your attention, I know it is precious.