"Reconstruction of the social fabric" and

“Mental Health and Human Rights Education for children”

 Indigenous community of Tenguecho, Michoacán, Mexico.

 Agencies involved:

 Jesuits for Peace

Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez

 Donor: The School of Sisters of Notre Dame, Ontario, Canada.



BENJAMÍN SANTAMARÍA OCHOA, 
"The Monkey King"
"El Rey Mono"
COMMUNITY WORKER (AOP). 


Community Worker (Anti Oppressive Perspective), writer, Yoga and Zen meditation teacher, Facilitator of Restorative Justice and Conflict Resolution workshops, Mexico and Canada. 

Mexico City, Mexico. Primary/Secondary Education

 Current: Community Centres, Non Profit Organizations, poor urban and indigenous communities and high schools in Mexico and Canada.

Previous: Culture Direction, Miguel Hidalgo Delegation, Mexico City's Government. High Schools from the TDSB: Harbord Collegiate, Technical Institute and Central Commerce Collegiate.

Education: George Brown College, Toronto, Ontario.

 
Email address: sundesertroses@gmail.com



Summary

 
My work as an author, a workshops facilitator and yoga and meditation teacher, is assisting students, their relatives, teachers, public servants, NGO workers and general public with implementing the basic principles of human rights with a focus on general health and spiritual and social conscious.

I focus my professional activities on human rights topics and meaningful and congruent practices of general health (interconnecting the interdependent levels of: body-emotions-mind), inner development and social consciousness.

This work includes:
* providing individual consultations related to specific individual, family or social conflicts or dilemmas.
* providing relevant and useful tools through everyday yoga and meditation practices, workshops, writings and presentations.

* assisting students, their relatives and professors, as well as: human rights professionals, public servants and general public with their particular inquiries about specific dilemmas or conflicts. 

* providing support in the implementation and following up of individual and social plans to solve a dilemma or conflict.

 I am a member of the Member of the Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network (Toronto, Ontario) and the Wide Social Unitarian Coalition (Mexico). I finished my certification as a Yoga teacher at the International Yoga Yoghism Association and at the Val Morin Ashram of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in Quebec. 
I have studied and applied the Convention on the Rights of the Children (UN) while working as the first Ombudsman in Mexico. I also wrote a friendly version of the first part of the same Convention, (reviewed and authorized to its publication by: UNICEF (Mexico), the National Commission of Human Rights, the Public Education Secretary of the Mexican Federal Government and several NGOs). 




EXPERIENCE

Restorative Justice Circles and Workshops Facilitator.
Mexico's City Government
August 2014- March 2015 (8 months)

 

  • Yoga and Zen Meditation Teacher.

Network Universal Great Brotherhood. Mexican Republic, Perú, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Bolivia, New York and Canada.
August 1972- Present (33 years)

 

  • Educator on Human Rights

National Commission of Human Rights, Mexican Federal Government. 
February 1993-  July 1997 (4 years)

 

  • PEN Canada's Writer in Residence  

Trent University (Peterborough), 2003, the George Brown College (Toronto), 2004, and Acadia University (Nova Scotia), 2004-2006.

 

  • Ombudsman for the Children 

Durango's Municipality, Mexico, 
1997- 1998 (1 year)

 

  • Teacher and Coordinator of Children’s and youth Human Rights Artistic Workshops

Mexican Federal government, local governments and non-profit organizations (Mexico, Argentina, United States and Canada) 
1980- 2013 (33 years)

 

  • Journalist and Author For Children

"La Jornada", "Reforma", "Excelsior" Newspapers.
March 1992- September 1997 (5 years)

 

  • Actor and Acting Teacher 

Mexico, United States, Senegal, Spain, Argentina, Peru and Canada, 
1973-2014 (30 years) 

 

  • Street Kids Educator

"Casa Alianza" (Covenant House)
January 1988 - January 1999 (1 year)



PROJECTS

 
The Theatre of the Middle Path, to solve conflicts and dilemmas for native and underprivileged children, Mexico City and Chicoloapan, Cerro del Chocolín and Ixtapaluca. Estado de México.
August 2014- August 2015.

The Theatre of the Middle Path, to native young students and children,
Jaltepec de Candayoc Mixe, Oaxaca, Intercultural Superior Institute Ayuuk. August 2014- August 2015.

“Health and Human Rights Education for Children”. Symposium of the WPA Section on Psychological Consequences of Torture and Persecution. World Psychiatric Association International Congress, Prague, Check Republic.
September, 2012.

Formal presentation of The Theatre of the Middle Path methodology for peasants, native workers, community and native leaders and students from Central America and Mexico, at the Mesoamerican Forum of the Peoples in Minatitlán, Veracrúz,   December 2010

Project Desert Roses, Raising Awareness on Human Rights for Children, Youth and their Communities, supported by the CRC (Canadian Religious Conference), Toronto, Ontario.
2006- 2009.

Campaign to send copies of the book "The Rights of Boys and Girls" and economical resources to San Caralampio, Native Community in Pentalhó, Chiapas, Mexico, at the Acadia Cinema re opening, Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
2003- 2004

Camp for Latino students in Toronto schools (Harbord Collegiate, Technical Institute andCentral Commerce Collegiate) 
2007, 2008, 2010.

 

PUBLICATIONS (In Spanish and English)

 
* Tales of the Monkey King, Tundra Books (USA. and Canada).
2005.
One of the stories I used to tell street kids, in the subway corridors, abandoned buildings or under earth hiddings in Mexico City, about a mischievous, brave, hot tempered monkey who became an enlightened one after controlling and facing his own issues.

* Speaking in Tongues. Writers in Exile. (One story: “We, the invisibles”). PEN Canada and the Banff Centre Press. 
2004.
What would happen if invaders, with a different colour skin, come to Canada, the US or any other western country, introducing themselves as friends, and will end raping our women, killing our men, slaving everyone and destroying our religion, culture, language and imposing a different order only on their benefit?

* Antares 2009. Creatividad Artística y Literaria. Literary and Artistic Creativity.Créativité Littéraire et Artistique. Glendon College, York University. 
2009.
Some poems.

* Ponle Color a tus Derechos (solo para niñas y niños de corazón) (Colour your Rights (Only For Boys and Girls by Heart).  Editorial Trillas (Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Colombia, Puerto Rico and Venezuela). 
1999.
A friendly, illustrated version -with activities-, of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Children.

* No se Olvida (México 68)” (Don’t Forget, Mexico 68). Editorial Plaza y Janés (Mexico, Germany, Spain). 
1998.
The one day life of an elementary boy who lives just in front of the Plaza de las Culturas, in Tlatelolco, Mexico, the very day the massacre of students and workers, ordered by the US and Mexican governments, occurs while hi is trapped at his apartment, Mom went out side to find Dad and he is sick with a strong cold.
* El color de la calle. The colour of the Street. , Mexico 
2015.

A non official, illustrated history for the family, of the American continent, from Argentina to Canada, told by a street kid who happens, mysteriously, to remember that history from the eyes and hearts of his ancestors: natives, social movements, students and workers.

 
CERTIFICATIONS

Community Worker Diploma (with honours) 
George Brown College, Toronto, 2014.

Restorative Justice Circles Facilitator
International Institute for Restorative Justice (Toronto)  
From 2014

Yoga Teacher
International Association of Yoga Yoghism  
2011


International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres
2016

           
LANGUAGES
English  
Spanish 

           
SKILLS

 Benjamin also knows about:

* Non Official Native history of the American Continent
* Simple Focus Brief Therapy
* Teaching
* Artistic Education
* Refugees and Immigrants settling
* Qualitative Research
* Mexican Prehispanic Art
* Teacher Training
* Latin American literature
* Martial Arts (Zen combat)
* Zen Meditation
* Comparative Religions
* Adult Education
* Yoga for children and seniors
* Presentations
* Acting
* Universal Values
* Young People
* Body Expression
* Critical Thinking
* Education
* Eastern Psychology
* Eastern Philosophy




At the Cultural Institute Ayuuk, in Jaltepec de Candayoc, native Mixe community I applied the methodology of The Theatre of the Middle Path offered to native students from diverse areas such as: Intercultural Education, Administration and Sustainable Development and Communication for the Social Development. 

I also offered a workshop for children (no violent, non sexist, no competitive and playful activities and stories) and the adult students presented a series of "Estudios Teatrales" (Theatrical Studies) to the community, to show diverse ways of solving current conflicts in the community.

 The Institute receives solidarity support from the following institutions: Edujesuit, Ficsac, United Way, Ibero Meneses Foundation A.C., Jesuits, San Ignacio de Loyola Foundation, OXFAM Mexico, Indigenous Affairs Secretary, Scotiabank, SerTull Foundation, Yin' Et Radio.com and Jesuit University System.

RECENT EXPERIENCES

Promotion of the Campaign to sell the bookmarkers and to send the book: "The Rights of girls and boys (only for those under 18 years old)".                                

Native girl from a community in Oaxaca, south Mexico, reading from the book: "The Rights of girls and boys (only for those under 18 years old)", published in Mexico, Venezuela and Spain in 1999.                       

Bookmarkers made by native children in Chiapas and the book sent to them.                        

Native children from the "Zapatista" Community San Caralampio, in the municipality of Pentalhó, Chiapas, showing their books markers we sold.

THE SOCIAL YOGA of the Monkey King

(a work in progress, not edited properly yet)

Chi Kung practice.                             

Workshops for children

Workshops:

Projects:

   Acadia Theatre, Wolfville, Nova       Scotia                                                              

Poster of the play                                 

The play


Theory on the nature of human beings.                               

WORK WITH AND FOR ORIGINAL PEOPLES 

(CHILDREN, YOUTH AND COMMUNITY LEADERS)

Friday, 23 February 2018

Workshop for students of the Centre                                

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

POPULAR THEATRE                               

BENJAMÍN SANTAMARÍA OCHOA. BIO.

The heart of social yoga is the preservation and defense of life itself. Life in all its manifestations. My life, our life. Individually and socially, without any distinction of race, gender, condition or appearance. It is a practical-theoretical proposal, which takes the essential elements of several of our mother cultures. In it, spiritual practices of diverse geographies are found and discussed, such as: the spiritual and social findings of some indigenous cultures, Buddhist thought and practice, Islamic ethics, the love of Christ's neighbor and, of course, transcendental practices of yogism.

Yoga, in its modus operandi, means liberation from all forms of oppression and suffering. Liberation from the alienation, from the dream, the illusion ("maya"), ignorance and attachments. Liberation of prejudices, ideas, imprecise, deceptive concepts and sectarian visions. Its millennial and effective techniques and methods, experienced by countless teachers over at least 5,000 years, demands a constant conscious effort and several years of practice. There are no magical or instantaneous solutions. In this sense, Social Yoga proposes a kind of internal struggle similar to Islamic Jihad, in its true philosophical sense, as: "invincible effort to bend our own dark nature, our animal heritage." "This constant Jihad means strict adherence to the will of God in all aspects of our life," according to Maulana Wahiduddin Khan in his book "True Jihad. The concepts of peace, tolerance and non-violence in Islam. "

According to Yoga, in its sense of union ("Yug") of the individual soul with the universal soul (Jivatman-Paramatman), the human being necessarily incubates its goal of final liberation within the community. In the field of social relations. Among consciences and human hearts. Individuals, couples, families and groups in communion, common union in harmonious nature. Therefore, the practice and hope of Social Yoga is reflected, similarly, in the meaning and deep praxis of the term Sumak Kawsay (Quechua, translated roughly as: "buen vivir" or “good living”), coming from the indigenous communities of the Andean region, term that can be explained as: "the satisfaction of needs, the attainment of a decent quality of life and death, the love and being loved, and the healthy flowering of all, in peace and harmony with nature" (Ramírez , 2010: 61).

Even the yogis, shadus, shiddis, swamis, sanyassas, jivanamuktas, monks, hermits and gurus, drink, drink and are nourished in their fundamental values ​​and superior customs into the social group that sees them born and grow. The social, the community, especially in our days, takes on a surprising relevance, and the enjoyment of a decent life for all, can only be a logical achievement for any spiritually conscious being. Social Yoga conceives that human dignity is unthinkable without social justice and unrestricted respect for human rights.

The Buddhist thought expressed as: "until all sentient beings have been liberated, no one has been liberated", could never have been more valid than in our days. In as much the human suffering, caused by the ignorance or the political and economic violence of governments and unethical corporations, subject to one or one of us, all and all we are submitted because all and all we are ONE. Yug, union, again.

 It is true that life has preserved and maintained its balance and harmony for millions of years without human intervention, however, at this time -the modern era that has given us not only comforts and material progress- we have seen its greatest threat emerging as never before in another period of our history. Isolated and minority groups of men and women, who venerate and submit to material values, ruthless consumerism, the market and the economy as their only goal and the only possible goal of life, are those who now govern us. By their actions and omissions, they are directly responsible for having erected and continue to maintain an empire ("the empire of forms," ​​wrote the Most Worthy MAESTRE S.W.K.). Their actions, thoughts and poisoned emotions (toxic ideas, "kleshas", in the language of yoga) -made economic, political, moral and social systems-, are imposed on our human dignity, and that of all living beings on the planet, leaving it seriously threatened and denigrated.

Why, then, are we governed by these predatory elites of life? Are they "the culprits" of the economic crises that hit our families, the lack of decent employment for all, the ecological catastrophes, the promotion of all kinds of addictions with impunity and discrimination as life habits, the trend towards the privatization of education, health services, security, culture and everything possible?

Are they and they directly responsible for suicidal and self-destructive tendencies in millions of adolescents and young people, the commercialization of the body, the reign of appearances in sexuality, the business of wars, the invention of terrorist groups supported by themselves, the mass manipulation of the media, the selective persecution and murder of social, peasant, indigenous or human rights leaders and the commercialization and distribution of carcinogenic, unhealthy and toxic "food" products without reservation or restraint? Are they and they, or simply, are we and we who, with our imperial ignorance and our excessive apathy who feed them, support them and allow them to do so?

Social Yoga, therefore, proposes, as a common goal: ideal and necessarily urgent, the replacement of these implicit and explicit governments, composed of human beings of deformed and sickly bodies, mentally and emotionally unbalanced and spiritually rudimentary, by autonomous governments, in liberated areas far from  their products, habits, consumption and laws, formed by advice from elderly and elderly noble, wise and wise, healthy body, mind and soul individuals, males and females, chosen for their deeds of life in favor of life. Wise communities that see our sacred heritage as our most important and precious value and spiritual resource: our girls and boys. Something that within the indigenous communities, in America, Africa, the Asian continent and the Oceanic continent, was common and desirable before the European invasions and looting.

Social Yoga calls for a true Simple Revolution, not violent or opposing to anything. A true internal revolution, from each being, its conscious decisions and actions, towards the couple, the family, the groups of friends and relatives and our communities. The proposal is: to start by ourselves and by replacing habits, products, goods, services and mental attitudes that destroy life or feed the insatiable greed of those groups, by actions and habits, products, etc.: noble, high that feed community life, in its most precise and elevated sense.

Social Yoga for the liberation of individual and community, spiritual and material, economic and psychological oppression.


THE THEATRE OF THE MIDDLE PATH 

IN JALTEPEC DE CANDAYOC, NATIVE MIXE COMMUNITY, OAXACA, MEXICO.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

The play                                 


Circles and Assemblies of Restorative Justice. Conflict Resolution techniques, Popular Theatre, Therapeutical and Self-knowledge Exercises from the Actor’s Studio Method, No competitive, non-sexist, non-violent games and Kohlberg Dilemmas, yoga ethics, relaxation and zen meditation.

Campaign to send to San Caralampio, Native Community in Pentalhó, Chiapas, Mexico,copies of the book: "The Rights of Boys and Girls (only for children by heart)" (an illustrated and with activities, friendly version of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Children, written by me and published in Mexico, Venezuela and Spain in 1999). We also send them economical resources, in order to rebuild 3 schools destroyed by the Mexican Army. 

To raise resources, I conceived an interactive play presentation entitled: “Acting for a Radical Childhood”. 

It is a play based on actual reports from Amnesty International, that shows some real cases of children whose rights have been violated in several countries in Latin America, under the Conservative governments allies to the Capitalist United States policies. The presentation of the play was on March 31st 2005 at he re opening of the Acadia Cinema.

I invited a group of Entrepreneur students from the Acadia Centre for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ACSBE), to write a friendly, social justice oriented business plan to sell bookmarkers made by the native children of the Chiapas community. The whole project had the moral, and sometimes, financial support, of the Amnesty International chapter at Acadia University, the Acadia Choir Ensemble, 2 graduated acting students, the Cooperative "Just of Us Coffee Cooperative Roosters", the government and the peoples of Wolfville.

It was a successful story in terms of financial benefits to the native community and in terms of the books we sent.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

BLOG

Mediation: children, youth, adults and missionaries.

Visits to families, community leaders, Circles and Assemblies of Restorative Justice and Conflict Resolution techniques.