Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 124 – Mindful of Race with Ruth King

Sharon Salzberg - Metta Hour - Ep. 124 - Ruth King

For episode 124 of the Metta Hour, Sharon is re-releasing a previously released episode of the podcast from 2018, featuring a conversation with author, teacher, and activist, Ruth King.

Ruth King is an international teacher in the Insight Meditation tradition, blending mindfulness and meditation principles with an exploration of racial conditioning and its impact. She is the author of “Mindful of Race,” published in June of 2018. In this conversation, Ruth and Sharon speak at length about racial conditioning and racial justice, the nuance of identity, and Ruth’s work rebuilding communities with new understanding and connection. The episode includes a new introduction by Sharon and a ten-minute guided meditation by Ruth. Learn more about Ruth and her work at

Show Notes

Knowing For Yourself (Opening) – We get to know Ruth and what brought her to the path of meditation and teaching. She reflects on the aspects of Dharma practice that have been most beneficial to her.

“I fell in love with the practice of meditation. It was such a recognition of something very deeply known. I think what really got me was the idea in this practice of knowing for yourself – not relying on something external to know what freedom and ease was.” – Ruth King

Conditioning and Unseen Bias (8:00) – Sharon and Ruth discuss the individual systems and group dynamics that lead to racial imbalance and harm; a major theme in Ruth’s book, Mindful of Race. They look at some of the hindrances that prevent us from recognizing or addressing our own unseen bias.

“We are all good individuals and we are also racial beings, so we all have inherent bias at the individual level of our being. We are all part of a racial identity group, some of us know this and others of us don’t. We all come from a racial configuration in this relational world that we are in.” – Ruth King

Racism Is Like Heart Disease (25:15) – Ruth looks at the relationship many people have with their own racism. She and Sharon discuss the similarities between how we address internal racism and how we address heart disease in ourselves. The two talk about how the balance and joy offered by contemplative practice can bring perspective to our inner struggles.

More Like This: Explore the intersection of race, activism and contemplative practice with Sharon and Rev. angel Kyodo Williams on Ep. 42 of the Metta Hour Podcast

Stepping Up (38:50) – What are some of the ways that individuals are using their positions of power to create change in the unjust systems that they operate in? Ruth and Sharon talk about the importance of stepping outside of our comfort zones in an effort to use our influence to its greatest social potential.

“I am seeing a growing number of individuals with power who are using their power in a way that supports change.” – Ruth King  

Drop-In & Open Up (46:45) – We close with a 10- minute foundational meditation practice led by Ruth.

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Art via Ruth King