On the Cushion, in the Street

For one New York City sangha, meditation is a political practice.Shell Fischer

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Meredith Arena / ID Project

FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS, a burgeoning grassroots activist movement on Manhattan’s Lower East Side—the 4,200-member Interdependence Project—has been creating a template for what it calls “integral activism.” In this Buddhist-inspired approach to political engagement, activists cross-examine their own actions and attitudes with the same vigor that defines their campaigns for policy reform. Made up largely of a younger generation of meditators, the Interdependence Project espouses a distinctly contemplative platform: that progressive social change won’t be truly effective until activists commit to an ongoing investigation of their own motives, reactions, habits, and beliefs.

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