To decrease your bias, increase your love
As we reflect on the remarkable life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we are reminded of the transformative power of love and kindness. We have come a long way in the fight for justice and equality since the days before King. However, our country’s dark history of segregation and racism still has a distressingly strong foot hold today. One need not look very far to see that we are a country divided in many ways, whether racially, politically, financially or spiritually. Negative attitudes (both conscious and subconscious) towards individuals that are different than us often underlie horrific, shameful and deeply unjust behavior, undermining the purpose and meaning that stem from unity and deep social connection. The famous words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that” echo just as loudly today as they did 52 years ago. How then can we heed his call to foster love for others in our own lives in order to drive out the negative attitudes that often live just under the surface of our conscious awareness? Recent research suggests that practicing Lovingkindness meditation might be one small thing we can do at home every day to increase our regard for other humans more generally and reduce our biases against groups that are regularly marginalized in our society.
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