The Creative Transformation of Police Work
A Whiteheadian-Buddhist Approach
"Who else would we want to carry a gun except somebody who will do it mindfully."
-- Thich Nhat Hanh
The Human Challenges of Police Work:
Law Enforcement and Mindfulness
Cheri, we were very happy when you came to us with the idea to bring the mindfulness practice to law enforcement. We encourage you to bring all you have learned about the practice of mindfulness and peace into the field of criminal justice. We all must have a spiritual practice so as not to burn out in our service to others. This Lamp is a token of the love and trust we have in you. Through your practice and efforts, this Lamp will shine for a long time.”
"Cheri Maples is a dharma teacher, keynote speaker, and organizational consultant and trainer. In 2008 she was ordained a dharma teacher by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, her long-time spiritual teacher.
The Whiteheadian Police Officer
A Whiteheadian police officer is like a Whiteheadian physician. Just as the physician has a good bedside manner, so the police officer has a good street manner.
Even Jesus grew in his mission
Did Jesus have to grow into his mission? To come to terms with his path in the world? Is that why he went into the wilderness? Was there something Jesus needed to learn or experience there in order for his heart to have room in it for the pain of the world? I don’t know for sure; I do believe Jesus wrestled with his mission during that time in the wilderness, just as he would later in the Garden of Gethsemane. And I do know that we have to wrestle with our mission, that we have to grow into our mission. Our capacity for compassion has to grow in order to embrace the world’s pain. And one of the ways that happens is through our own suffering, through our own broken heart. But it all depends on how our heart breaks.
Compassion for oneself
Compassion doesn’t have to only be directed toward others; it’s OK to have compassion for ourselves, too. There are many times that moving from fear to action is necessary for us to be healed, to be made whole, to experience the abundant grace of God. Real life is full of actions that take courage—entering into another relationship even after we’ve been hurt, the first day of a new job with all its unknowns, putting one foot in front of the other when we’re depressed, answering a call to discipleship even though we see ourselves as anything but worthy and capable. If God is a God who provides enough for all people, sometimes our call is to have for compassion for ourselves, too.