Dr. Jibri says, "Practicing TM gave me that inner strength and inner stability to spontaneously make the right decisions.”
by Harbour Fraser Hodder at Enjoy TM News
28 February 2021
Rashied Jibri, Ph.D., as a psychologist, psychotherapist, and Transcendental Meditation (TM) teacher, has a unique perspective on the needs of the Black community and how the TM technique can help. As a teenager he had been a gang member, but he started TM “at a relatively young age, 24, and that allowed me to find some stability in my life,” he says.
Dr. Jibri became a TM teacher in the early 70s and taught with West and others in Black communities, including in the Charles Drew cardiovascular study. He believes the TM technique is a true panacea, but because the practice is so easy and the effects are spontaneous and natural, “it’s not always understood that this is what’s going on.”
Once, after Dr. Jibri gave an introductory TM talk, a man came up and asked, “I’m unemployed and my family’s hungry—will TM put food on my table?” Dr. Jibri says he answered, “Well, no, it’s not going to put food on your table. But right now you’re under a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety, a lot of uncertainty, and what you need is something to stand on. Even though you can’t see it, you need something to stand on to give you that strength to move forward, to give you that clarity, to find certain avenues to help you within the situation that you’re in.”
For these reasons, Dr. Jibri recommends TM practice “as a baseline, as a foundation for everything else. It’s even more basic than lifestyle,” he says. “I call it inner hygiene. Regardless of your belief system and lifestyle, you’ve got to take care of yourself. You’re going to brush your teeth and bathe and do your usual morning routine before you go out into the world. So TM is a part of that.”
Practicing TM won’t stop racial and social injustice, “but it structures resilience. It provides a sort of protection from the anxiety that is developed from the experiences of social injustice,” Dr. Jibri explains. “So these things will occur, but how strong is that individual, how much inner fortitude do they have so they can maintain their stability and still function in society, and have more clarity to look at solutions to the various issues that they’re faced with—that grows and strengthens.”
Dr. Jibri has encountered a lot of racism in his own life, “but because of TM, experiences of discrimination don’t sink down into the fiber of my constitution and cause me to react. When you have something on the subconscious level—I am looking at this from a clinical standpoint—things will trigger various emotions, and those emotions can be very loud or aggressive. Whereas when you have some inner stability and resilience for protection, then when you do come across that same contact or issue or event, you don’t react so vitally to it.”
He explains what he sees as three types of racism: blatant, systemic, and unconscious. “Growing up in the inner city in Los Angeles, it was just very blatant, in-your-face racism,” he says. “Now unconscious racism could be individuals who consider themselves liberals. If I go into a supermarket in a neighborhood where there are few Black people, the clerks are very cordial, but they’re still on guard because a Black man has walked in. They could be very liberal, but they feel the need to follow you around the store.”
TM practice is “a baseline, as a foundation for everything else… I call it inner hygiene. Regardless of your belief system and lifestyle, you’ve got to take care of yourself.” —Dr. Rashied Jibri
When Dr. Jibri worked in corporate America, he encountered systemic racism: “Often in management meetings, I was the only Black man in the room. When they were doing some problem-solving, I would offer a suggestion that resolved the issue, but it would be totally ignored. Then a few weeks later, I would see that what I had suggested is what was being done, but there was no credit given to me.”
Some people might walk out of the meeting and quit, “but then I would be hurting myself. Practicing TM gave me that inner strength and inner stability to spontaneously make the right decisions,” he says.
The TM technique provides a kind of protection: “It’s just a very subtle, general protection that needs to be there, so the functionality of Black individuals can grow and prosper,” says Dr. Jibri.
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