Monday, November 7, 2011

Street Dharma: Teaching Meditation to the Homeless

A few months ago, I met a man named Kiley Jon Clark who teaches meditation to the homeless in San Antonio, Texas. My curiosity piqued. I asked him to tell me more about what he calls HMP Street Dharma (HMP stands for Homeless Meditation Practitioners).

What's the purpose of meditation?

"In Tibetan, the word for meditation means, 'To become familiar.' We are trying to become familiar with ourselves -- with how our minds work. It all starts with being here, in the present moment.

It can be very unsettling when you realize just how frantic your mind really is. Just try it. Stop, sit down, stay in the present moment and think of nothing but your own breathing. You may find, like Buddhist elders have said, that the mind is like a crazy monkey swinging from thought to thought and from past to future. Our brains do not know how to relax."

But how can the homeless meditate if they are in a critical situation like homelessness?

"Our main aim of working with the homeless is just being with them. It is about everyday interactions. And those who ask for meditation instruction will gladly get it.

"Like most of us, the homeless have been listening to the same negative thoughts in their heads for years. 'I'm so stupid.' 'I'm such a mess.' 'I can't do this anymore.' 'I wish I were dead.' Everyone has this negative mental chatter going on all the time and we don't even recognize it. (MORE)

Source: Huffington Post

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