Sitting in the Fire Together: People of Color Cultivating Radical Resilience in North American Insight Meditation

Nalika Gajaweera


Drawing upon ethnographic research conducted in California with BIPOC practitioners of mindfulness, this article examines their efforts to create “safe spaces” to collectively experience and process painful embodied emotions around racialized trauma. These collective spaces, I argue, help meditators move from experiencing painful emotions as internal to their personal experience as individuals, and instead help relate their difficult emotions with those experienced and shared by other racialized minorities. Building such safe space communities help raise awareness of the shared socio-political nature of their individual emotions. This collective experiencing of racialized embodiment fosters a type of radical resilience, and, ultimately, develops an awareness of collective responsibility, care for community and direct action for racial justice within the individual meditator.


mindfulness; race; PoC; American Buddhism; resilience; emotions; intersubjectivity

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Nalika Gajaweera

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The JGB is indexed in Wikidata, Scopus, ATLA Religion Database, ProQuest, EBSCO, eGranary Digital Library, the DOAJ, and ERIH PLUS. The works published in this journal are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  ISSN 1527-6457