Ruth King: Mindful of Race

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June 18, 2019

Ruth King: Mindful of Race

Ruth King June 18, 2019

Ruth King is an Insight Meditation teacher, life coach, diversity consultant, and the author of Healing Rage: Women Making Inner Peace Possible. She is publishing her new book, Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out, in collaboration with Sounds True. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Ruth about the personal experiences that led to writing Mindful of Race and why the heart can be “a mass weapon of healing.” They talk about the different ways we can interpret current racial narratives and why it takes honest self-examination to discover how one has benefited from a racist system. Ruth explains how mindfulness can open us up to having difficult conversations around racism, colonialism, and other forms of systemic oppression. Finally, Tami and Ruth discuss how “life is not personal, permanent, or perfect” and the necessity of cultivating compassion in all walks of life. (74 minutes)

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Ruth King is an international teacher in the Insight Meditation tradition, serving on the Teacher’s Council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California. King formally managed training and organizational development at Levi Strauss and Intel corporations, consulting to leaders on cultural change initiatives. Currently, King teaches the Mindful of Race Training Program nationwide to teams and organizations by combining mindfulness principles with an exploration of our racial conditioning, its impact, and our potential. King has a master’s degree in clinical psychology, and is the author of several publications, including Healing Rage: Women Making Inner Peace Possible and her most recent book, Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out. Learn more at www.ruthking.net.

Author photo © Vaschelle André

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Founded Sounds True in 1985 as a multimedia publishing house with a mission to disseminate spiritual wisdom. She hosts a popular weekly podcast called Insights at the Edge, where she has interviewed many of today's leading teachers. Tami lives with her wife, Julie M. Kramer, and their two spoodles, Rasberry and Bula, in Boulder, Colorado.

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Also By Author

Ruth King: Mindful of Race

Ruth King is an Insight Meditation teacher, life coach, diversity consultant, and the author of Healing Rage: Women Making Inner Peace Possible. She is publishing her new book, Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out, in collaboration with Sounds True. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Ruth about the personal experiences that led to writing Mindful of Race and why the heart can be “a mass weapon of healing.” They talk about the different ways we can interpret current racial narratives and why it takes honest self-examination to discover how one has benefited from a racist system. Ruth explains how mindfulness can open us up to having difficult conversations around racism, colonialism, and other forms of systemic oppression. Finally, Tami and Ruth discuss how “life is not personal, permanent, or perfect” and the necessity of cultivating compassion in all walks of life. (74 minutes)

Ruth King: Race, Rage, and the Healing Power of Mindfu...

Ruth King is a life coach and insight meditation teacher of the dedicated practitioner program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She’s the author of the book Healing Rage: Women Making Inner Peace Possible. In this special edition of Insights at the Edge hosted by Sounds True producer Kriste Peoples, Ruth explains the difference between anger and rage, as well as how examining the patterns of our rage can help us both understand its source and channel its animating energy. They talk about how rage covers over our soft spots and how the experience of it can lead into fruitful lovingkindness practice. Finally, Kriste and Ruth speak on how a deep understanding of these concepts can help craft healing conversations around racial difference and injustice. (69 minutes)

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How to Mental Stack Your Way to a New Chapter in Life

Most people feel trapped in a thousand ways. But more often than not, this sense of entrapment us into putting our heads down and getting the things we are expected to get done, done. We can’t often see the entrapment, especially if it looks like the result of our own choices in life. But were they truly our own choices? What if some of the choices we made in life have never really been ours to begin with? 

I want to take us back a little. Back to when we were younger. When we had to rely on the wisdom of our elders, and those who have been in this life much longer than us. In my upcoming book Invisible Loss, I write about that time in our lives when we were at our most rebellious:

Disobedience—as a child, as a teen, as an adult in the world of work and home—is an act that creates invisible suffering. We learn to survive that repeated pattern of being commanded by our elders to be “good.” In order to be good and obey, we may create a life closer to that command but further away from our Original Self. We may work hard trying to be good, trying to please and fit into the mold created for us, but that only helps to build our Waiting Room life.

But time in the Waiting Room doesn’t need to last forever. And you don’t have to die inside it. There are parts within you that can bring forth a life worthy of your human existence. Places within yourself that have no shame.

As long as we have been alive, creating a life that aligns closest to the wishes of our caregivers and protectors blinds us to the life that we could choose for ourselves. That life is completely hidden even if we think we know our wishes. Often, only when we go through tragic or invisible losses, do we start to question those choices. Dare I say, these moments are opportunities to exit the loop of being “good.”

It is time to interrupt our regular transmission. It is time to be clear when it comes to what it is we are trying to communicate to the people in our lives. It starts from no longer trying so hard to fit into the mold that was created for us.  No matter how old we are, we can always break outside this mold and align our choices with our true values and desires.

This is not an easy task. I understand that. At the core of my book, Invisible Loss, I’ve created tjos easy practice to help set you on the right path to your Original Self. I call it Mental Stacking:

What Is Mental Stacking?

Mental Stacking is the ability to intentionally layer your thoughts to replace unconscious, Survivor-based

thinking with Wisdom-based thinking. In doing so, these Wisdom-based thoughts can more easily be converted into real-life action. This Stacking practice allows you to access your true and authentic self (your Original Self) and entrust it with the controls of your life. Here is what a basic Stack looks like:

  • The Cleanse: Transcribing the automatic, routine-based, unconscious thoughts. Write them down. Don’t stop writing until you feel you are done. 
  • The Pattern: Subtracting from that first layer the thoughts of fear and doubt. Once you write everything you are feeling and thinking down, read it back to yourself and find a sentence or two that comes from a place of fear or doubt. For example, somewhere in your long cleanse you may find yourself saying: “I feel trapped in my marriage and I don’t dare tell anyone about it because he is the nicest guy. All of my friends always tell me how lucky I am to be married to someone who takes such good care of me.”
  • The Reframe: Writing the consciously reframed thought layer in the Stack. Take that sentence and reframe it. For example: “I feel trapped in my marriage and feel ashamed for feeling this way because my partner is such a good guy,” to, “even though I may feel shame about how I feel, I need to share these feelings with my partner even though it may not be expected or understood. This is my life, after all.” 
  • The Plug-In: Translating the reframed thought into action. Once you have that reframed thought, think of a low-risk action you can take that can stem from that newly scripted thought. For example, you can suggest to your partner to go for dinner at a brand new place where you can bring up what is on your mind in a new environment. You can act on your right to express yourself regardless of what the response might be or how others view your situation. 

Your Mental Stack leads you to a specific next step that may not always be easy to see without the power of each previous layer in the Stack. 

Here’s to a great new chapter ahead,

Christina Ramussen

Invisible Loss


Invisible Loss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Sounds True

Christina Rasmussen is an acclaimed grief educator and the author of Second Firsts and Where Did You Go? She is the founder of the Life Reentry Institute and has helped countless people break out of what she coined the “waiting room” of grief to rebuild their lives through her Life Reentry® Model, a new paradigm of grief, based on the science of neuroplasticity. She lives in Austin, Texas. For more, visit christinarasmussen.com.

Author photo © Marc Olivier Le Blanc

Ep 9: Live the Questions Now

When it comes to building the Great Turning, it’s natural to have questions: What is my individual role in it all? How do we win? Who do we fight? While Jess wrestles with her desire for a “prescription” of what to do, Joanna invites us to “live the questions” instead. In this episode, we learn about the three dimensions of the Great Turning and the way forward: community, relationship, and solidarity. 

In this episode:

  • There are no perfect road maps, but if we come together in courage and community, the way will emerge
  • The climate crisis is not just an environmental issue but a spiritual crisis of disconnection
  • Bonus Exercise: The Bodhisattva Check-In

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

Ep 8: Eros and Thanatos

This episode explores the powerful role of Eros (sensual love) and Thanatos (death) in fueling our connection to the world as we contribute to the Great Turning. Joanna and Jess discuss how we might learn to see our world as our lover (and as our self), the gifts of cultivating a sensual connection with the world, and how facing mortality can make the gift of being alive feel even more precious. They also reflect on the closeness of Joanna’s own death, which Joanna sees as “going home” to rejoin the cycle of life.

In this episode:

  • Using our love and awareness of impermanence as fuel for activism
  • Discovering ways to truly feel interconnected with all life through sensual presence
  • Reflections on mortality and our place in the cycle of life

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

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