Dr. Lenwood W. Hayman Jr. joins Mirabai for a conversation on cultivating radical self-love for breaking cycles of oppression and healing our beloved community from the inside out.
Dr. Lenwood W. Hayman, Jr. is an Associate Professor of Behavioral Health Science in the School of Community Health and Policy at Morgan State University. As a teacher, Dr. Hayman offers radical love by working to inspire social-justice-minded scholars to critically analyze course content to develop a skillset for disrupting the incomplete narratives established about the communities from which they come. As a researcher, Dr. Hayman engages radical love by using a resilience-informed lens to address the social, psychological, structural, and environmental influences of well-being in underprivileged and marginalized populations. As an activist, Dr. Hayman offers radical love by using his mindfulness training to initiate and cultivate safe spaces for engaging in meaningful dialogue around health and well-being–both in the classroom and beyond.
Radical Love & Public Health
Welcoming Dr. Lenwood W. Hayman Jr. to the podcast, Mirabai invites him to share about his concept of radical love, exemplified deeply through an experience Mirabai recalls of Dr. Hayman offering such bold wisdom on the intersection of love and public health in the midst of crisis-stricken Flint, MI. Elucidating radical love, Dr. Hayman asks us to consider love as a verb, always remembering that you are the root.
“When I’m speaking about love, I’m talking about it as an actual verb, as an act of doing, something that one does, something that one offers. The idea behind radical love is that it first has to start with self. The first most critical and crucial component of radical love is you as the root. The very root of love is you.” – Dr. Lenwood W. Hayman, Jr.
Walk the ‘Path of Love’ with Mirabai’s close friend and fellow dharma teacher, Ram Dass, on Ep. 178 of Here & Now
Cultivating Self Love & Breaking Oppressive Cycles (11:00)
How can we begin to break down systems of oppression within our society? Sharing with Mirabai that it starts with breaking cycles of oppressed-and-oppressor within the self, Dr. Hayman explores the importance of cultivating loving energy internally before being able to properly share it externally with others. Viewing love as a practice, science, and energy, Dr. Hayman outlines the distinct process of mindful awareness and intention involved in cultivating love.
“When I think of radical love, in order for an individual who has been oppressed for all of their life, it requires an understanding that I am worthy of a different experience than this; I am worthy of being free from this system of oppression. So that means not only being free from being oppressed, but also being free from being the oppressor—breaking that cycle.” – Dr. Lenwood W. Hayman, Jr.
Open yourself to the poetic radical love of Omid Safi, and the loving-kindness of Sharon Salzberg, on Ep. 79 of the Metta Hour
Beloved Community & Love as Home (27:27)
Defining love as ‘doing what I can to increase the health of whoever it is that I am professing or offering my love to,’ Dr. Hayman teaches us how to work with oppressors and negative individuals in our lives, honestly wishing them the spaciousness and peace to heal. Recognizing all individuals as part of our beloved community, Dr. Hayman shares about the concept of love as home in relation to the external difficulties of bias and prejudice many people face at home in the United States.
“Home to me is sanctuary, replenishment, peace, and acceptance. It’s a container for my liberation, for my freedom… Now when I think of home, it’s less about it being a specific place, and it’s more about it being a conceptualization. I feel as though home is a process as well now. Home is a practice. If I can feel at home in my body, soul, and spirit, then I can feel at home wherever I am.” – Dr. Lenwood W. Hayman, Jr.
For more Mirabai, listen to her illuminating conversation with Dr. Larry Brilliant on the ‘Centripetal Force of ‘Love.’ on Ep. 3 of Walking Each Other Home
Guided Affirmation Meditation (52:00)
Invited by Mirabai, Dr. Hayman leads a relaxing guided meditation of positive affirmations for healing, love, awareness, and empowerment.