Mindfulness and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mindfulness and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Discussion date: Thu, Jan 18, 2007 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,

No twentieth century American is more identified with the pathof love, compassion, and nonviolence than Martin Luther King, Jr.Like other great spiritual teachers, although rooted in a particularreligious tradition, his message and moral courage easily crosseddenominational boundaries. Martin Luther King, Jr, washimself touched by other traditions, including Gandhian”soul-force” and engaged Buddhism. (The picture to the left is ofThich Nhat Hanh standing with Martin Luther King as King announced hisopposition to the war in Vietnam.)

This Thursday evening, after our meditation period, we will watchtogether segments from several speeches Martin Luther King, Jr. made inthe last five years of his life and share our reflection on King’s lifeand legacy.

The text of one of the speech segments we will watch is below. Itcomes  from a remarkable speech given at the National Cathedral onMarch 31, 1968, and clarifies the relationship, as King saw it, betweeninterbeing and activism.

You are invited to join with us. 

Warm wishes,

Mitchell Ratner
Senior Teacher


From Remaining Awake Througha Great Revolution, a talk Martin Luther King, Jr., gave on 31 March,1968, at the National Cathedral, Washington. (The text of the full speech is available at http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/publications/sermons/680331.000_Remaining_Awake.html .)

Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of thisworld a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment tomake of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got todo this. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will allperish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment ofdestiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whateveraffects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason Ican never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. Andyou can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it isstructured.

John Donne caught it years ago and placed it in graphic terms: “No manis an island entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, apart of the main.” And he goes on toward the end to say, “Anyman’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind;therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls forthee.” We must see this, believe this, and live by it if we are toremain awake through a great revolution.

Discussion Date: Thu, Jan 18, 2007


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