Yesterday, I read about different interpretations of reality. I’m reading this book little by little since it takes a while to process each chapter. “The wisdom of no escape,” by Pema Chödrön, a Buddhist teacher and someone that I really admire and whose teachings I’ve really tried to meditate on, ponder, and implement in my everyday life. What she describes and talks about is all very simple, but once you have to practice the concepts, the difficulty surfaces.
I was first introduced to mindfulness and loving kindness during an undergraduate class more than a decade ago. I don’t quite remember the name of the class but what I do remember is that I had to journal everyday and that I was supposed to do some kind of mindfulness exercise daily as well. For me, anything besides the basics–eating, sleeping, and going to the bathroom–is hard for me to commit to on a daily basis. I am not a fan of routine and I am happy with changing habits, scenery, and company most days. At any rate, this practice was something I had to work hard to do and at the end of the semester I realized that sticking to something was very rewarding. I felt that I had grown and was shaped by a commitment to myself. Ever since this time, I have formed commitments to myself, in yoga practice, in meditation, in my relationship to others, etc. It is powerful to commit to yourself and to others through a variety of forms. Yesterday, as I read Pema, another commitment surfaced that I’d like to share here with you all.
In the particular chapter I read yesterday, Pema explains that, “The truth you believe in and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.” She talks about the fact that some people are going out, becoming curious about the world around them and far away from them, and they are growing in their understanding of everything they encounter. On the other hand, there are others among us who become set in our ways and in our truths and we hold on, steadfast to what we believe in–unchanging, unmoving, and headstrong. At one point in my life I felt as though this steadfastness was something to work towards and it was actually a goal of mine. I realize now, however, that it is only in the evolving of my being that my truth is able to be set free in order to evolve and to garner new truths.
I just had a discussion with my roommate the other day about tech workers in the Bay Area, also known as techies for those of you not in the Bay Area or not privy to the workforce development here because of Silicon Valley and the tech boom. We were discussing the fact that these techies are stereotyped, put down, and looked on badly by many people that think they are out-pricing individuals and families that have lived in the Bay for years and years. We judge these young, mostly white, men, parading into the area on golden chariots of resources, freebies, perks, and incentives. Meanwhile, the rest of us set on the sidelines and stew.
I admit, I haven’t been the most open-minded about these individuals coming into the city and making it a playground for all their adventurous dreams. Interestingly enough, the day after this heated conversation with my roommate, where she invited me to be more open-minded about people working in tech, I volunteered at an event where low-income women in the community were coming to get a taste of what it was like to learn to code. The day workshop was to entice and get ready for a 6-month program where a former techie, now turned non-profit startup director, was going to lead the charge, bridging the gap between the lack of women in the technology sector as well as the lack of lower-income and Bay Area residents having opportunities to work in their own backyards in technology.
I was the only volunteer who didn’t know the first thing about coding, and it was a very real way to confront my truth. First, I learned that there was much to learn about technology, the gap that exists described above, and the very people that work in this sector. I tried my best to have an open heart and an open mind and tried to soak everything in. I must say, the experience is pretty pertinent to the experience we are facing as a society and even the world as a whole right now. Maybe we should take a second and tap into what our truth is and how it is we can go deeper into that truth by connecting with that of others. Maybe in this way we can discover new realities and grow together, better.