I grew up in Mexico City and lived there all my life until we moved to the US 22 years ago. I was always very spiritual and while growing up it was expressed through the Catholic Christian faith. In my mid thirties, after being curious about meditation for a long time, I noticed that the people around me who meditated had a sense of peace. As a lifelong seeker, I signed up for a week-long basic Buddhist course at Casa Tibet Mexico. My hope was that I would find a deeper understanding of the purpose of life, develop in a spiritual sense (regardless of religion), and find tranquility. It was at this retreat that I discovered the answers to many of my most important life questions, and they were all laid out in a logical way, which I had never encountered before. I found a space where I was able to finally make sense of and understand the intuitive values that I had held but hadn’t yet learned to name.
But the joy of this discovery lasted only a short time. Very soon after, my husband was kidnapped and kept in isolation for 103 days which of course caused me immense anguish. When he was released, for the safety of our family, we left Mexico. For me, Mexico represented my home, my city, my country, my family, my friends, my career and everything I had ever known. I ended up moving to the US and through a fortuitous chain of events and people found Trudy Goodman and InsightLA and this is when my practice started to shift from the Tibetan tradition toward the path of Insight.
After more than a decade of practicing meditation consistently, my husband got a rare disease that made his health decline very quickly and led to him passing away in a couple of months. Now I was confronted with three grieving teenage daughters, without my husband, and away from home. But whilst in the midst of this second experience I discovered through my practice that my body and mind were able to find balance amidst the chaos I was going through. It became very clear to me that the difference between what I experienced before developing my practice and after was like night and day.
My meditation practice had developed to the point where it could support me through one of the toughest moments of my life. In the midst of the chaos, I could find grace and equanimity in a way that I never thought was possible – I had found skills I didn’t even know I had acquired. The benefits of my practice became so clear to me experientially that I felt compelled to share these gifts by becoming a teacher. And now I have been teaching for more than fifteen years. But the journey to becoming a teacher was also full of learnings.
While learning to be a teacher and as a practitioner, I noticed that I felt more safe and confident when I was around people that looked like me, that had a similar background and culture as me. I think this is true for all of us, and this common necessity has become part of my goal as a teacher: to create spaces where people can stand on common ground and practice together. Sometimes using the same language. It’s about developing a deeper sense of community and safety as we dive deeper into ourselves.
Besides still teaching at retreat centers online and when possible in person, for the past two years or more years I’ve been dedicating myself to building an exciting teacher training project called Freedom Together. This remarkable team of internationally renowned BIPOC mindfulness teachers and thought leaders have designed a curriculum that is intended for, and created by, people of color. It is a rich and transformational program designed to speak to the BIPOC experience, and to train mindfulness teachers who can do the same when they go out to teach.
I became involved with this project because I personally felt there wasn’t a space in teacher training for mindfulness where BIPOC folks feel free to explore and share freely. This type of training is sorely needed when pursuing freedom of mind and heart, delving deep into our values and beliefs, especially in a country with the history and baggage that the US carries with it. The training is built on my own and many others’ lived experiences both in the world and in our practice pulling from our hardships as well as our joys in life.
Our year-long training is carefully designed for all dedicated BIPOC-identified practitioners looking to become Mindfulness Teachers in their field of work, communities and beyond. As mindfulness teachers ourselves we aspire to grow and cultivate a thriving community of BIPOC mindfulness teachers globally who will transform their own lives and the lives of their communities, just as the Dharma transformed mine. The goal is to teach BIPOC folks how to utilize the richness of our diverse cultural and traditional resources to build more equitable, inclusive and just communities leading to personal and collective liberation.
If you identify as BIPOC and ever felt called to become a certified mindfulness teacher, I invite you to visit freedom-together.org to check out our amazing teaching team, our own RosaMaria being one of them. If you want me to answer your questions, please contact me at email@example.com and please share it with folks you think might benefit. If moved to do so you can APPLY TODAY to be considered before August 15th, 2023 the extended application Deadline.
Tere Abdala is second generation Mexican, with a Lebanese family background. She is currently the president of a large growing and successful multinational company in Mexico City and a firm believer of the enormous benefits of mindfulness everywhere.
Her heart calls her to share the Dharma with Spanish Speaking communities. She is privileged to be part of the current Spirit Rock Teacher Training program.
Join Tere and friends: