Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Mindfulness Studies

First Advisor

Melissa Jean

Second Advisor

Andrew Olendzki


The mindfulness community prioritizes self-awareness and common humanity, but is often entrapped by the idea that oneness is equivalent to sameness. This inclination for objectivity is rooted in the same neural propensities that facilitate bias; the brain is a subjective organ, however, and so neurologically speaking, bias is inevitable. This paper asks: Is striving for sameness separating us from interconnectedness? A human experience is a subjective, diverse, and variable one. The path to shared humanity and social justice co-occurs with increasing cultural humility through mindful awareness and acknowledging our subjective nature. Exploring our neurological tendency to make assumptions, we can discover that only by embracing difference can we cultivate a sense of interconnectedness. We find that variation (viewed through the lens of intersectionality and substantiated by biology) is not only normal but meaningful, with evidence tracing back to misconstrued Darwinian concepts. Such difference is not always visible, however, and this is authenticated in the text by personal positionality as it relates to difference (particularly of race, ability, and emotional experiences). This examination is anchored through an original contribution of a proposed “Paradoxical Path” to common humanity, involving an exploration of explicit and implicit biases. Due to our subjective neurobiology and inclination toward biases, mindful acceptance of difference within ourselves and others is paramount in cultivating collective consciousness and expanding our quintessential worldview of what it means to be human.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.