January 23, 2024

Rev. angel Kyodo williams – Racial Healing and the Yearning to Be Seen

Thomas is joined by author, spiritual teacher, outspoken activist, and the founder of the Center for Transformative Change – Reverend angel Kyodo williams. They discuss the healing power of being seen as your true self, and how this creates the conditions for collective healing. Rev. angel explores how systems of power and oppression have created divisions in our society and undermined our sense of belonging, especially for Black people and other marginalized groups.

But in creating safe spaces that are resilient enough to allow our true selves and feelings to arise, we find relationality through our suffering, and begin to heal these culturally ingrained divisions. And while this work is neither comfortable nor easy, our increasing willingness to sit with discomfort illustrates our innate desire for liberation and connectedness.

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“You don’t have to necessarily go and try to solve all of the problems of the world, but you can be healing in the spaces and environments that you inhabit, wherever it is that you live and love.”

- Rev. angel Kyodo williams

Guest Information

Rev. angel Kyodo williams

Called “the most intriguing African-American Buddhist” by Library Journal, Rev. angel Kyodo williams Sensei, is an author, maverick spiritual teacher, master trainer, and founder of Center for Transformative Change. She has been bridging the worlds of personal transformation and justice since the publication of her critically-acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace. Her new book, Radical Dharma, explores racial injustice as a barrier to collective awakening.

Ordained as a Zen priest, she is a Sensei, the second black woman recognized as a teacher in her lineage. She is a social visionary that applies wisdom teachings and practice to social issues. She sees Transformative Social Change as America’s next great movement.

For over 15 years, she has deeply invested her time and energy to put into practice her unwavering belief that the key to transforming society is transforming our inner lives. She has developed comprehensive systems for illuminating both practical personal change and the profoundly liberating potential of mindfulness, yoga, and somatic practices coupled with wisdom teachings. Calling for a paradigm shift that “changes the way change is done,” angel envisions the building of a presence-centered social justice movement as the foundation for personal freedom, a just society, and the healing of divisions of race, class, faith, and politics.

Learn more at revangel.com.

Notes & Resources

Key points from this episode include:

  • Creating environments of healing and safety in separate racial spaces and then coming together as a whole
  • The practice of noticing contraction in our direct experience and responding with awareness
  • How a greater willingness to grapple with the challenges that divide us is creating a momentum for change
  • That the work that we most need to do in these times is our personal work in the presence of others


Episode Transcript

Thomas Hübl: Welcome back to the Collective Trauma Summit. My name is Thomas Hübl. My heartfelt pleasure. It’s really heartfelt to welcome Rev. angel Kyodo williams. So, Rev. angel, warm welcome. I’m so happy to see you!

Rev. angel Kyodo williams: I’m very happy to see you, too. It’s been some time.

Thomas: Yes, yes. I had such joy you came on and I felt, wow, it’s lovely seeing you. Since we haven’t talked for a long time now, maybe you can tell me a little bit, what are you on fire about right now? So what’s your leading edge in your work that really sparks your own interest and exploration? And if we can talk a little bit about that.

Rev. angel: Yeah, you know, over the course of the pandemic that we’ve all shared some experience with, we unexpectedly started a little sitting group that we just thought, well, you know, people need some kind of way to navigate what they are working with. It was very early on, and we just figured two weeks maybe, and two and plus years later, we have this lovely sitting group that has extended itself into lots of other spaces, incredibly diverse, a very wide range of people, backgrounds, ages, races, genders, expressions, people, I would say North American centric, but people all over the world still. And that has been absolutely lovely.

I was sharing with them just last night that this is something that was truly a co-creation. I could say that I started, but it was co-created not only by the people that help hold the space and the people that show up all of the days, it’s like six days a week, but it’s also co-created by the conditions and it feels so, like such a truth about how we can be resilient with practice in the face of difficulty, in the face of challenge.

I frankly don’t believe that we would have been able to come together in this way and stick it through if it had not been for the pandemic. So that’s been very exciting. And it also brought me around to what feels like the really big, juicy project that I’m working on right now is that I just stepped into the role of maybe it’s I say it’s the CEO, and I say if people want to think it’s the Chief Executive Officer, they can think so. But it’s Chief Environment Officer of a company called a company called MNDFL. That was closed. Their physical locations were closed by the pandemic. And I helped them create a training. And so, this notion that we can engage in practice online has just been a tremendous boon for me to come to understand and to give room for it and not be so rigid that it all has to happen directly and in person. And that’s a testimony to hear what we’re doing right now.

Thomas: Exactly. Oh, wow, that’s amazing. Maybe you can speak a little bit since you have a long-term practice. And when we look at the world, we see one more disruption. We see many more challenges than they were before also. But now I think we are facing one more collective pressure. There’s trauma and collective trauma and all that, we’re going to talk about it in a minute. But then there’s the practice, like resourcing from a deeper spiritual or contemplative practice to do that work well. And so maybe you can speak a little bit how they tour because you combine them beautifully in your own path?

Rev. angel: You know, it’s kind of unexpected. We have a culture, especially in the West that is considered very self-centered. Many times we have practices and come out of traditions, myself included, that is talking about no self and how do we let the self, go away? And my experience has been that actually, it is the other way around and that what we need to do is to give people permission and conditions and the resources to be able to actually work with themselves, that actually, we’re not whole selves oftentimes, we’re fragmented by trauma, not just the trauma of ordinary ways that life happens, but, really, the cultural conditions that it is that are amplified in, in by way of these divisions and politics and wars that we see that those things actually show up. And if we’re not able to have permission to really try to find a sense of wholeness in our own personal practice, then we can’t be good contributors to an understanding of and healing of collective trauma or collective anything, for that matter.

Too often we leave ourselves out of the sense of collective. Not in a way that is just about like, oh, it’s all about me, but rather I’m also part of the collective. So my healing is necessary in order for me to be a contributor. And I think many of us that are in lots of spiritual practices are kind of avoiding the deeply personal work that has to be done under the guise of being selfless. That I think is a misstep for us.

Thomas: Right, right. And so when we take that now and we locate trauma in a way, it also hurts our belonging, hurts our sense of relationships, hurts our communal health, hurts many things or collective trauma. So when you speak maybe a little bit about belonging and restoring belonging, how do we create? Because our summit is here how do we create a collective healing movement? So it’s more about the we together, you know, as a movement creates healing in the world. Maybe you can speak a little bit about belonging, restoring belonging, and how collective containers are important for collective healing.

Rev. angel: You do it from the lens that you’ve been doing and brought it through beautifully. I think that we have underexplained or given, having a conversation about the ways in which systems of power and depression, wars that impact us, and cultural ways of doing things that oppress the wholeness of people or divide people.

The way the mechanism works is actually to undermine our sense of belonging. I want to say corrupt our sense of belonging. So, in other words, in order to belong to what is kind of the club of a culture and a cultural way of doing things like these are the norms and this is how you should be if you want to belong. What we do is we end up giving up our sense of what I call our own belonging, right? A trueness to ourselves and an honoring of ourselves and the uniqueness that we have. And that creates an incredible fracture. And I think that that gives rise to an underlying, very persistent experience of low-level trauma. Sometimes it becomes more acute.

But I think everyone that has to labor under the experience of whether it is a broad culture or within one’s own family or within one’s own community – this sense of having to exchange one’s trueness to oneself, one’s own belonging, for belonging to something that is external to oneself, even if it’s your family, even if it’s your family. But certainly through nation-states and political divisions and so on. You know, I’ve spoken many times that the core mechanism of the divisions of peoples, by way of race, particularly along the binaries of black and white in the United States, was exactly organized by undermining people’s sense of belonging. If you wanted to belong to this nation, the newly forming nation, as a person in a so-called white body, then you had to reject these other peoples, indigenous peoples, African peoples, and so on. And so that corruption of our belongings is deeply wounding.

It is a lever for our continued divisions that occur. And so people can kind of pull on that sense of: Are you a real American? What is the word always used, if you’re patriotic and true to your country? And so it’s actually pulling on this underlying sense of belonging that is deeply human but is actually being corrupted by those views.

Thomas: So now, in that kind of cultural fragmentation that hurts our belonging over long periods of time, what can we do? What do you see in your work? Like how can we restore belonging? Because I think the interdependence of an individual and collective is a fluid space in order to be or all of it basically, as you said at the beginning, that is kind of often restricted through traumatic aspects. But then when we liquefy those, we find back to that. And I think the collective understanding of healing like that, we do that stuff kind of together in bigger groups and we learn. Maybe you can speak about how we collectively restore our collective hurts and belonging, we work on so that it’s what we feel we can restore.

Rev. angel: Yeah. I think a very big part of it is actually being able to work through and with the hurt and experience that we have in collective with other people that are also working through those things and by naming them and giving a shape to them, rather than taking them on like, this is somehow my own. Because this is in many ways, that’s the way corruption works. It kind of divides us, and it creates a sense that whatever is happening to me is individual, right? Uh, we experience it personally, but it’s not individual.

All of these kinds of larger systems or even smaller systems that work upon us, work upon us in ways that are personal but not individual. Because, as you said, we are part of the collective. And there is this interdependence. And there is this way, the ways in which our family shapes us can inadvertently give rise to, to wounding. So by being able to be in spaces with other people that are doing the work of naming that, allowing themselves to own the truth of it, and then coming to recognize that, oh, this is not I experience it uniquely, but I’m not the only one having that experience.

Then we find our sense of relationality through our suffering, through the pain and traumas that we experience, rather than trying to hide them away or push them away or pretend that they don’t exist. Through that sitting group that we have, we call it the “No big deal sit.” Because we started it, people were sort of like, look, we don’t want any kind of special ways of being. We don’t want people to posture. You just come as you are. And that was the first tenet. And so it’s no big deal. However, it is that you are, in your pajamas, or maybe haven’t showered for a few days. If you come in a little late or so on like, it’s no big deal, like what we’re doing is really being ordinary.

In that practice of people slowly coming to realize that they could bring the whole of themselves, the wounded parts of themselves, the not together part of themselves – paradoxically, healing began to occur, and they felt themselves and experienced themselves more whole as a result of the collective and simultaneously could be more true to the collective and feel themselves a part of the collective. And so both things are operating. The collective is strengthened by the persons and by the individual personal healing that happens, and people are healed by the fact of the collective container being strong enough and resilient enough to be able to manage and hold space for the journey that we work through to our healing.

Thomas: That’s so beautiful, that’s exactly how it’s experienced. It’s very beautiful. It’s lovely. It’s a beautiful process to see how this collective evolved through the healing and healing that so beautifully put in and living in a system of ongoing racial injustice and ongoing traumatization and at the same time trying to find ways to heal and and develop healing. So there’s healing within that traumatizing and violent. And can you speak a little of your experience to that, the complexity of being in an environment where my defense mechanisms are actually needed, when in fact, in the healing work, I am resourcing myself to soften those and to integrate the prior trauma? But that’s a complex process. And yeah, I would love to hear how you experience that.

Rev. angel: Yeah, it is quite complex. You know, I once had this conversation with a Zen teacher, a senior teacher. She was saying something to me about working with a black student. And she said, “Well, you know, I would really want her to work with her self-esteem.” And I looked and I said, you know, black people don’t get self-esteem. We have always, been referenced by the collective, moving through our lives from the beginning to the end referenced upon and referencing ourselves as a part of a collective. And so, the result of that is, as you said, is that there are times in which it is helpful for our healing to be able to soften, and yet we have to navigate the fact that there is an underlying sense of threat or lack of safety in so many different spaces, and you don’t know where it arises. It’s not a lack of safety because you are you and you did a particular thing or you did something questionable, but rather because of the body that you inhabit. And so it’s very nuanced.

It’s something that we’re really just beginning to start to tease apart that we are simultaneously one and there are also extraordinary differences as a result of cultural shaping, of such a history of trauma, division, and impact on particular peoples, that there are certain ways in which healing unfolds that that is especially complex and entangled so that healing processes, therapeutic processes, they’re not neutral. They’re not just like, this is how this happens. It’s like this. This happens in different ways. We have to navigate a different set of circumstances as a result of living inside of a larger collective that has imposed certain shapes upon us as a result of our so-called racial category.

One of the things that is quite particular, I’m sure many people have heard is we talk about the work of affinity groups or caucusing that allows people that identify in particular categories, be that race or gender or being trans or some other kind of identity can begin the work in a sort of smaller subset of people of at least perceived shared experience that those larger sets of conditions that are imposed upon them, and that begins to allow people to recognize that they’re not alone. That their experience is not alone, but also, how necessary it is to give voice to those things.

Our work in SIT has been for all kinds of races of people. And there have literally been moments where I’ve seen and heard black people come and say, “I’ve never felt so seen in my life than being in this space.” And that is incredible because there is a need for people to be seen and recognized specifically amongst the racial categories and so forth that may be true, but also the especially poignant thing that happened is that people in racial categories such as black were actually being seen and felt – they were being seen by white people, by Latino people. And that had another level of healing that is about the larger collective and the way that even within our own healing inside of categories and so on and so forth of so-called likeness, there is something deep in us in terms of our sense of belonging to humanity, that will still yearn to be seen, to be honored, to be witnessed, to be able to be whole in the presence of people that are not like us. That’s actually a part of our sense of healing.

What I’m saying is that healing that is dependent upon us only being with the same types of people, as necessary as that may be for some initial sense of safety will always be incomplete if we can’t see ourselves as part of the whole of humanity eventually.

Thomas: I love that. I listen to you and it rings very true. And it’s lovely because I often say when I look at you now like Rev. angel and Thomas have intra-existence in Thomas and vice versa. Then we can see each other, we confirm each other’s existence within each other so that this is a beautiful, intimate space. And it speaks very much to what you said. It’s so beautiful how you put it and it’s lovely.

Rev. angel: You know, Thomas, I just want to say I was listening to you and allowing what you just said to really settle in. And in that moment there, there arose like we say this word “healing,” and it’s like bells and whistles and fireworks are going to go off. There was just a moment of healing that just occurred when you said that and spoke about this intimacy between us. I felt that kind of like landing in that sense of like, “Oh, yes, I feel that intimacy as well with you.” I don’t know why and I don’t have to know why, but the fact that you recognized that, it’s like it sealed some kind of place in that feeling that feels, maybe questioning or not an active oh, I’m wondering does he like me or something like that, but just this, I am being seen – so when said that that’s that reflection back, that you’re being seen, that you’re being experienced, that another human being is holding you in regard and sees you as they see themselves, not as if we are the same person, but see, allowing a clear seeing that healing right in that moment that there is a healing of something that doesn’t even know that it needs to be healed.

I felt that and was pausing and resting in that. And I think we all hold that and we hold that yearning deeply in any given moment in the presence of other human beings. If we can allow ourselves to be open enough, we will recognize that we actually, in each moment, have a desire to be seen and to be regarded for our humanity. And that healing comes about in any that that happens.

Thomas: Mmm. Yeah, it’s beautiful how you expanded and it’s beautiful. And I also felt it, touched me and it also speaks how you spoke beautifully to that we need it. But also we are the ones that can provide it and that doing both, you know, at the same time I think that spoke to what’s my actually my awareness of my surroundings, what’s my awareness of the people that I interact with every day and how do I fully do it or presently do I bring myself?

Rev. angel: Yeah. Thank you.

Thomas: So when we look at that now, how can it be expanded like what do you think is a way to create a movement and collective healing movement? We all see that it’s needed. I mean, If you look at dealing with political polarization, climate change, racial injustice, there’s so many things where the systems are kind of distorted and hurt, and are being hurt again and again. So we need a kind of a collective answer. But how can we become a collective answer?

Rev. angel: But I believe that it’s something that lies in that recognition of the yearning that we have to be seen. And the more deeply we are in touch with an understanding and an intimate with our own yearning to be seen, maybe there’s a moment when I said that some of you felt like, well, I don’t want to be seen by this person or that person or, you know, there’s a police officer and they’re aggressive – I’m not wanting to be seen. I don’t think that’s true. I think that we want to be seen at any given moment and our sense of fear for our safety, wondering where the person might bring about harm to us or if we can trust them obscures that. But at the underlying, and that’s part of why we feel so wounded and the divisions grow greater and greater is because there’s a sense of not being seen. Whatever your political persuasion or wherever you lie on the spectrum of politics or parties or whatever, at the end of the day, I think there is a sense of like, well, I’m trying to create the conditions for myself of safety. I may be doing it in a way that you don’t agree with, but ultimately that is what human beings are trying to do. We could get into things like power and money and grabs like that, but I’m talking about the human-to-human connection.

When we have a perception that that is not happening, that someone is not able to see us, not willing to see us, not willing to hear what it is that we’re yearning for. Then those divisions grow and they amplify. And then you have systems of power that people are leveraging. People talk about culture wars. They’re leveraging those fears so that they’re more and more amplified. And so there’s actually very few kinds of people pulling the strings trying to leverage that for their own advantages of power and so on.

But most of us are just trying to figure out how we can be honored in whatever it is that our truth is and the ground that seems so disparate. There’s such a huge gap for us to cross that is impossible if we don’t begin somewhere in that acknowledgment for ourselves. So I think that the way that we create a movement is by being the movement, by having that moment where I can say, oh, Thomas, you just said that thing to me. And I felt this experience of healing and a sweetness and an intimacy. And I allow myself to have that. And by allowing myself to have that and to experience that and acknowledge it, I can see it more readily. I can feel it more readily in others.

As you said, I then feel the sheer power of what it means to be human and to be able to offer that to other people, right? To just be in a supermarket, on the bus, and just offer kindness in a moment in which we might otherwise contract. And my definition of suffering is contraction. And so when we can catch ourselves contracting and notice, oh, I’m contracting in this moment, what would it be like if we can just settle in and return to our belly, to the solidity of our own being, and allow ourselves to give a little bit more space for the whoever that is in front of us for them to be themselves. And we can be ourselves if even just a little more. You know, we get very extreme and we want it all solved at once. It’s like just the movement is just like a little more. It’s a movement, right? It’s not getting from here to there all of a sudden. It’s like a little bit of movement.

So we can be the movement by simply allowing ourselves to soften just a little bit in any given moment in which we notice contraction arising in us with contraction, withholding, receding, pulling away when we can notice that. And of course, that requires practice to just be able to notice. And then to have the will, the intention, the vow, however it is, you put it to respond to the awareness of our suffering, the awareness of our contraction. Then it unfolds quite naturally.

Thomas: That’s beautiful. So what I hear is how in everyday lives, actually in every moment of our life – we are the movement. And then I do other things that at every moment and every interaction is part of it.

Rev. angel: With the anti-movement, you know, I mean that’s the truth. There isn’t a neutral. At any given moment, we are either leaning and allowing love. Or we’re uh restricting and calling for fear, and we have an opportunity that moment to just kind of hang out in the fear or to yield to the possibility of our yearning or connection or love, whatever word is that you want to allow for it. And the moment that we touch it and we notice the healing, um, movement has occurred.

Thomas: That’s beautiful. We’re right on the energy itself, that’s very beautiful. We’re talking about that which is happening is being spoken. So that’s a very beautiful way also being that movement.

Rev. angel: Yeah, and I think that that’s also so important for us in our quest for healing, for collective healing is that it’s lovely to talk about it. And if we let the talking about it and the ideation of it surpass the direct experience, then, we will have missed it. There it is, it could be arising in that moment and where you know, more thinking about it and how do I get to it? And you know, set back and feel yourself.

I speak about this idea of creating the conditions. Well, the conditions are getting quiet enough to hear yourself and still enough to feel yourself. And when you can create those conditions, whatever practice it is that allows you to create the conditions for a direct experience of what is arising in you, then you have the opportunity to take action by way of either allowing or restricting yourself. And we’re all responsible that way. There’s not someone out there that is going to, you know, Thomas’s lovely, and Thomas is not responsible for our collective healing. You’re bringing about incredible voices that will bring different angles and talk about things that will strike our hearts. But at the end of the day, if each of us at that moment, that opportunity that is right there in front of you with your child, your lover, your parent, the big guy that I sat next to on an airplane and I was sure that he was going to mansplain all over the place and instead, at some point, I looked up and he was moving the blanket carefully to make sure that I didn’t get awakened. And it wasn’t at all who if you looked at it from externally, who we could have been, and we had this moment of intimacy and sweetness and healing simply from seeing each other. If I was closed off to that, it wouldn’t have happened, and the movement would have taken those that one step back.

So we are in that movement at any given moment. It isn’t happening someplace. It’s not on a voting card. (We should vote.) But it’s not in a politician’s office. It’s not about who gets voted or not voted or what policies occur. It’s really about how we show up at each moment and whether or not we are willing to commit ourselves to take these very small actions within our own beings, to allow healing to occur for ourselves and to witness each other, to see and be seen.

Thomas: Yeah. So deeply resonated with this – so true. I spoke with the poet David Whyte for the summit and he said a beautiful sentence. He said, “When we heal, our voice becomes revelatory.” In my words, I would say we’re not talking about, but we are talking from. So we are speaking it because we’re not separate inside anymore. Words are what we are, is what we say.

When I listen to you, I feel the directness of the words and your energy reaching me while we speak. It seems it just landed in me so that’s very beautiful. And it speaks to what you shared. That’s the same experience when I listen to you.

Rev. angel: I think that’s why when I saw you, I felt the same way, that quality. What you’re saying is so important because in a vast quagmire of climate crisis and the crisis of human beings upon the planet and our disregard for treating the Earth as a place that we live and love and need to be and wars and so on. It can feel very much like, well, how is that going to help? And what you just said is exactly the truth. It’s when we ask those questions, they arise from the place that is contracted and fearful.

Because there’s nothing wrong with having the fear. The fear is evidence of the yearning. The fear that we have that something is not going to work out is evidence of our yearning. And so, in fact, when people are resistant or, you know, they push back with things that I say, I’m like, oh yeah, you are the most desirous of it. You’re the most desiring of connection. You’re the most desiring of that yearning and recognizing that yearning. And so it’s a good thing to have that sense of fear, but also to recognize that that is evidence of your yearning. And what Thomas said about you speak from it. When you are shifting internally, then you are the transmission of that healing. Until that is true for us, and that’s maybe difficult for many of us – until that is true, until we are working with ourselves in that way so that we have our own direct experience of, oh yes, I feel what that is in me. I feel when I’m talking about something and talking from something, then you will be able to witness the alchemy of that transmission happening and creating healing.

Then the question of how that happens will be less of a question. It’ll become apparent to you that you carry the torch of whatever it is that is needed for your particular space, and that you don’t necessarily have to go and try to solve all of the problems of the world. But you can be healing in the spaces and environments that you inhabit, wherever it is that you live and love. And I have watched that for the last couple of years in this space with these people. I would say, once upon a time I knew it in my heart, but I didn’t have enough. And I knew it from my own experience. But what I have done over the last couple of years is I have had the opportunity to watch we’re generally anywhere from 30 to 50 people, sometimes upwards of 80 people, every day create the conditions of healing for themselves and with other people, and often, most often without my intervention.

So this is not like there has to be this teacher there that is doing things and telling people special things – it is that there are sufficient conditions. There’s enough commitment to the conditions of healing and liberation for each person that they have allowed for enough space and room for the healing and liberation of the other people who are there with them. And I’ve watched it for two years with an incredible diversity of human beings, no shared tradition, no shared culture, no shared anything really, other than this commitment.

Thomas: It’s very beautiful. It’s also very heartwarming to watch. I think that the fact that you can witness that and that it starts to happen by itself, is so heartwarming because it sounds to me so true, that systems start to heal themselves and the right conditions of being when there’s the right environment.

Rev. angel: I know that I have visited spaces and watched that kind of healing unfolding. And it’s not as far as it can feel like it is right now. In so many ways, we may have to experience a little bit more pain in order to deepen our commitment to stepping into the uncomfortable places that healing requires of us. Uh, I hope that won’t have to get too bad. But we are all responsible for our collective healing. And we are all the collective.

Thomas: That’s true. You said something else that I want to underline. It’s also beautiful that nobody needs to save the entire planet. But every one of us we all do our gardening. And then the flowers, the whole planet can flourish. But we need to do our gardening – if we don’t do that and the plants around us are not growing. That’s important. That’s a beautiful framing.

One question I have, you know, you’re doing your work already for a long time and you can see already like a trajectory, for example, in the United States, what are the things that you see are changing because we see often and also the news is full of all this stuff that seems to be problematic and painful and of course, that’s also true, except it’s being changed. But then there are many things that are happening that are really beautiful like when you speak about your group and when you see people flourishing and they touch other people and that starts flourishing. And so how do you see that over time it’s over the course that you do your work, what you see is changing or shifting that touched you or did you recognize oh, it’s beautiful that that’s happening?

Rev. angel: Yeah. I have a body of work called “Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation.” I wrote a book by that name. And out of that book, a body of work emerged in which we went into spaces. We said, you know, it’s great to have a book and read about it. (Please, do get the book and read about it.) But it is important that we have direct experience. And so we created what we call experiences. Uh, one of which we have had is called camp. And people call this a camp. And we come together and kind of just get thrown in. And over the course of the years prior to the pandemic, through the pandemic and up until now, we just had three camps over the summer. I have seen so much more willingness on people’s part to grapple with the challenging questions of what it is that divides us. I have seen so much more willingness. I attribute this to the pandemic and the uprisings around the murder of George Floyd in the United States, as a particular catalyst. It’s not the only one but a particular catalyst for this, but I have seen so much more willingness for people to grapple with the ways in which we have been divided and to be honest about, their own gains and advantages that result from injustice and imbalance and inequities in our society. That’s all well and good. And that sounds very good on paper.

But the reason that they’re willing to do what is extraordinary is because people are tired of trading their humanity for material gains, and they are choosing in numbers and in ways that I have not witnessed. And I’ve been doing this work for a long time, very, very deep, and a far wider variety of people are just stepping in and it happens much quicker. So that speaks to the collective momentum. So we used to do these camps before the pandemic when we first started this 2016 to 2017, it was like, okay, we have to have these definitions. And now it’s just like people are just right there. So the work transpires more quickly. And so that’s another positive aspect of each of us doing our personal work is that we contribute to a momentum.

I would say if I were to make it up, I would say what used to take us three days to get to we’re already at the three-day work mark in a day. And now we’re already someplace else. And it’s because people want to be healed. They want to be healed. They’re recognizing that these divisions are traumatizing, that they have been traumatized, that they’ve been carrying trauma, and that they want to be healed from that trauma, and they want to do it with other people. And that has been extraordinary. It has been absolutely extraordinary.

Thomas: I also resonate a lot with the speeding up, three days before is now one day, something is becoming more concentrated liquid and there’s a kind of intensification effect. It’s very interesting, how the integration of some people furthers the healing of others. That’s an amazing principle. There are so many things that I want to talk to you about. Maybe if there are some last words for today I hope we can meet again soon and continue this conversation.

Rev. angel: I love that you said underline. I really want to underscore, you know, as a person that is sanctioned in a tradition as a teacher and all of those things, what I have witnessed and what I know deeply in my heart to be true is that the work that we most need to do in these times is our personal work in the presence of others. It’s not enough to just do personal work, and it is not enough to just be in group work and forget that you are the collective. There is no saint, or there’s no roshi or reverend or Rinpoche that is out there that is going to save you. There’s not a politician that is going to come up with the perfect advocacy plan – we really are the ones we have been waiting for so often said, and now is the time that we’ve been waiting for. There is only one time in which our healing can happen. And that time is now.

Thomas: Lovely closure of the journey that we are on here and I feel very close to you. And I was touched many times by the authenticity of your words and by the transmission. So it’s very beautiful. Thank you very much. It’s a very lovely time for me here with you.

Rev. angel: Thank you. It’s lovely to see you and to feel and reconnect with the resonance of your voice and your truth, just the deep heart fullness that I feel from you every time we are in a space.

Thomas: Thank you, thank you.