A look at the website for mindfulness conference Wisdom 2.0 paints a certain picture of the gathering and for whom it is designed: Splashed on the homepage are images of Tibetan monks creating sand art, sage-like speakers imparting wisdom to large crowds, people assembled in yoga poses, and group hugs. Yes, group hugs.
While a certain dose of new-age spirit can be an asset at an event like this, you don’t have to be a meditation expert or even a yogi to appreciate the messages at Wisdom 2.0. The self-proclaimed premier gathering for “exploring living mindfully in the digital age,” Wisdom 2.0 offers a forum to learn, share and experience the benefits of conscious thought in everyday action. Especially given today’s times, this mindset is valuable, if not downright necessary, to create positive social impact and build a sustainable future.
A stream running through this year’s conference was an exploration of the role of mindfulness in bridging gaps and moving forward beyond political divisiveness. The following session titles shed light on what was discussed: Race, Justice, and Mindfulness: Addressing Society’s Pain, Inequity, and Disenfranchisement Through the Lenses and Practices of Mindfulness, Wisdom, and Compassion; A Manifesto for Challenging Wisdom in Challenging Times: Guidance for Cultivating a Fierce Heart; Exercising Leadership and Practicing Compassion in Politically Charged Times; and Inquiry, Politics, and The Mind.
In a series of conversations presented on the main stage, speakers shared words of wisdom on how to take action and practice compassion in our current sociopolitical climate. Here are a few key teachings from those talks.
“I wanted to change the world,” Katie shared with Wisdom 2.0 attendees, “so I questioned my judgements, beliefs, and assumptions about the world, and the world changed as my mind made the shift.”
In other words, compassion and mindfulness should not be relegated to spare moments in a day on a yoga mat or in a dark, quiet room. Space for mindfulness can be equally held at work and with friends, family and strangers.
Laney Whitcanack, CEO of the non-partisan nonprofit organization Coro Northern California, shared the following:
“You can choose to 1) fight, 2) ignore, or 3) create connection. On an individual level, you have to be brave to ask for permission to seek to understand others and undertake this kind of bridge-building. My question is: How can we create spaces that are trans-partisan so that all people know how to get engaged with compassion?”
“We really need each other to have a broad perspective of the truth and chart the way forward. Having love and compassion is what it takes to connect under these times.”
Nayelli is the Founder & CEO of Creators Circle, a nonprofit working to close opportunity gaps for future generations of impact changemakers. A trained journalist with an MBA, she also keeps the pulse on sustainable business and social impact trends and has covered these topics for a variety of publications over the past decade. She’s a systems thinker who loves to learn, share knowledge and help others connect the dots. Follow her on Twitter @NayelliGonzalez.