Read Raúl Cornado’s #SeasonOfGratitude Story

In this week’s #SeasonOfGratitude post, we are inspired by this powerful story of dharmic practice, righteous rage, and collective healing from EBMC sangha and board member, Raúl Coronado:
I imagine many, if not all of us, at EBMC are on a path seeking spiritual serenity, a path that is grounded in our realities and lived experiences but that also seeks awareness of the true nature of things via the dharma.
I’m searching for a path where I can feel and come to terms with the specificities of the pain and racial debasement I experienced growing up in racist Texas, a place where the word “Mexican” always felt like a horrible racial slur when spoken in English.
I’ve spent years of rage, shame, frustration, anger, seething, simmering, boiling. I’ve spent many years in therapy, in the dharma trying to get rid of that “‘excuse me’ tongue and this nagging preoccupation with the feeling of not being good enough” that Lorna Dee Cervantes writes about in her poem “Poem for the Young White Man Who Asked Me How I, an Intelligent Well-Read Person Could Believe in the War Between the Races.
That rage, even when bottled up (maybe perhaps because it was bottled up) has often taken control of me, shaped my path, my vision of the world. It’s driven me, and rightly so, to fight for spaces for people of color, for queers of color. But I have to acknowledge that it has also warped my sense of reality for sure. At times, I reacted to that racism by turning it its mirror opposite, a kind of ethno-POC nationalism, one that eschewed white people in the name of our liberation.
Buddhism, time, studying women of color feminism in college, returning to my dad’s homeland, Mexico, a place I spent much of my childhood, radically altered my world. It made me realize that my racialized condition as a Mexican from working class origins was contingent, that my being “other” was not universal and that I most definitely also had privileges that I had not acknowledged. I may have been a victim of homophobic, racist, class-based oppression, but I too was not without privileges. The problem, as the queer Chicana feminist Cherríe Moraga taught me, was in ranking our oppressions. As she wrote in Loving in the War Years: “Without an emotional, heartfelt grappling with the source of our own oppression, without naming the enemy within ourselves and outside of us, no authentic, non-hierarchical connection among oppressed groups can take place”.
The dharma has helped me see how that rage and internalized racism has warped my sense of the world and our place in it. I’m sure we each all have our very unique versions of wrestling with what I call demons: racism, classism, homophobia, sexism. In my dharma practice, I want to learn how to use the dharma to be mindful about these mind states, these feelings that percolate throughout the day triggered by interactions with media, work, life.
The East Bay Meditation Center is my sangha. It’s where we are collectively learning how to use the dharma to heal, grow, and flourish. Our EBMC is radically innovative, and every time we sit together, appreciating the present for all its pain and beauty, we actively create a vibrant, inclusive, beautiful spiritual community.

Raúl Coronado