In this special episode, Sikh Activist, Simran Jeet Singh, joins Omid Safi for a conversation exploring anti-racism as a spiritual practice.
Recognized among TIME Magazine’s 16 people fighting for a more equal America, Simran Jeet Singh is Senior Adviser for Equity and Inclusion at YSC Consulting and a Visiting Professor at Union Seminary. He is a 2020 Equality Fellow with the Open Society Foundations, a Racial Equity Media Fellow with Interfaith Youth Core, and a Senior Fellow for the Sikh Coalition. Simran holds a PhD, MPhil, and MA from Columbia University, an MTS from Harvard University, and a BA from Trinity University. He is the author of a best-selling children’s book, Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon, and is in the process of writing a non-fiction book for adults, titled, More of This Please: Sikh Wisdom for the Soul. For more information, please visit SimranJeetSingh.org
Anti-Racism As A Spiritual Practice
An episode originally recorded for Religion News Service, Omid Safi and Simran Jeet Singh explore anti-racism as a spiritual practice. Treading these turbid waters with a mindful delicacy, they offer guidance to the question: How does the work of the heart—that inner work on our own being, at the most intimate and subtle level—relate to the process of trying to create a harmonious, just, and beautiful world? Through this lens, they examine how the inner and out are related, and how the work of love is the work of justice.
“Could we actually say, ‘Thank you God for putting me in this period because there’s work that needs to be done’? Your work, my work; your breath, my breath; linked together is part of the struggle to live a full and meaningful human life.” – Omid Safi
Open yourself to the history of racism and independence in this timely dharma talk illuminating prejudice and freedom, on Ep. 112 of Heart Wisdom
The Rocks Are Gonna Cry… (8:00)
Omid shares his rich cultural childhood. Born in the Florida, but reverse-immigrated with his parents back to Iran, Omid grew up in the dichotomy of horrific, abominable wartime; but in the context of a very large, loving, spiritual family which introduced him—through their beings—to the mystical essence of the teachings of poets like Rumi and Hafez. Omid explains how this exemplified tenderness and war-provoked, unrepentant pacifism, mixed with his appetite for spiritual-revolutionary thinkers, deeply refined his being.
“The revolutionaries that I was attracted to were always religious thinkers. It was always the ones who so care for the suffering of humanity, that they know that if you don’t do something, the rocks are gonna cry out.” – Omid Safi
Omid reflects on the life, impact, and lessons of Freedom Movement leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on Ep. 11 of Sufi Heart
The Gospel of Success: Race & Academia (22:30)
Speaking to the deeply steeped racism perforating the country from macro to micro levels, Omid shares the all-too-common reality of racism within the context of academia. An academic himself, he offers personal stories, alongside a wellspring of wisdom, for relating how to handle racism amidst higher education’s ‘Gospel of Success.’ From this perspective, Omid share’s that the fullness of God is our own fullness, encouraging us to move away from feelings of brokenness and division, and into the feeling of wholeness.
“We came into this world through our Mama’s suffering. Without that suffering there would have been no birth. Without the mud; no lotus. I fully accept that. But there is this notion, that love, dignity, justice—not at an individual level, but at a communal level—moves us towards that state of wellbeing.” – Omid Safi