IMPACT

This Foundation Is Using Meditation To Bring Baltimore Together Amid Riots

04/30/2015 09:28 pm ET | Updated May 01, 2015

For the past 13 years, the Holistic Life Foundation has focused on bringing mindfulness meditation and self-regulation techniques to their headquarters in Baltimore and beyond. As this week's riots hit extremely close to home, the team behind the organization stepped up to help bring peace, love and compassion back to their community.

Members from the organization joined HuffPost Live host Alyona Minkovski to discuss their efforts, as well as what's been happening behind the scenes in Baltimore this week that most news outlets aren't covering.

"Baltimore is a really segregated city, and it's horrible that this chaos had to happen to bring all these different communities together, but I think something beautiful can come out of this and we're seeing it through the citizens of Baltimore coming together from all demographics," said Atman Smith, one of the founders of HLF. "Hopefully this will be a building block and we'll be able to continue to grow together as one community."

HLF plans to host a mass meditation meeting for the greater Baltimore community on Saturday, May 2, in the space where the riots earlier this week took place. It's the same area where they also happen to run their after-school program for children. Andres Gonzalez, another HLF founder, said it's at times like these -- when emotions are running high -- that mindfulness, meditation and compassion can do their best work.

"I think it's extremely important right now," he said. "The aftermath is what's really going to hit these kids soon. They're already talking about it in their schools, in their programs and the impact that it made. You can see their empathy and compassion growing... I think at this time, they're going to need it more than they ever needed it -- to go inward and find that place of inner peace away from all the atrocities that are going in their immediate vicinity right outside their windows."

Watch the HuffPost Live clip above to hear more from the conversation.

  • Students from Baltimore colleges and high schools march in protest chanting "Justice for Freddie Gray" on their way to City Hall April 29, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore remains on edge in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, though the city has been largely peaceful following a day of rioting this past Monday. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 29: Students from Baltimore colleges and high schools gather before a march to City Hall April 29, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore remains on edge in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, though the city has been largely peaceful following a day of rioting this past Monday. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • A member of the National Guard stands outside Baltimore City Hall as marchers protest the death of Freddie Gray, Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
  • Protestors march Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Baltimore. Hundreds of protesters, many of them students wearing backpacks, marched through downtown, calling for swift justice in the case of Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered critical injuries while in police custody. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
  • A protestor raises his fist outside of Baltimore City Hall as marchers protest the death of Freddie Gray, Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
  • A member of the National Guard stands watch outside a neighborhood next to the Mondawmin Mall, scene of some of Monday's riots following Freddie Gray's funeral, as a mother passes with her children, Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Baltimore. Schools closed Tuesday because of the mayhem, but reopened Wednesday, after the city's first night of a curfew went off without the widespread violence many had feared. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • Students from Digital Harbor High School chant "We Love Baltimore" as they march outside City Hall April 29, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore remains on edge in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, though the city has been largely peaceful following a day of rioting this past Monday. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • Protestors march to City Hall on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Baltimore. Hundreds of protesters, many of them students wearing backpacks, marched through downtown, calling for swift justice in the case of Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered critical injuries while in police custody. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
  • BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 29: Students from Baltimore colleges and high schools march in protest chanting "Justice for Freddie Gray" on their way to City Hall April 29, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore remains on edge in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, though the city has been largely peaceful following a day of rioting this past Monday. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • A man raises his fists during an outdoor concert by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in support of the community in Baltimore, Maryland on April 29, 2015. Riot police in the US city of Baltimore enforced a curfew into the early hours of Wednesday and called it a success, emptying streets scarred by a spasm of rioting and looting. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
  • People participate in a rally for the family of Freddie Gray outside the Maryland state's attorney's office on April 29, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS