Martin Luther King, Jr. 739 words, 16K views, 28 comments
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On Dec 10, 2010Somik Raha wrote :
As an experiment, I tried reading this passage by substituting "I" for "God," and it was quite remarkable. e.g. "In the final analysis, what I require is that my heart was right." I agree. Therefore, it is time to make my actions consistent with my preferences. Chris built on this and pointed out that we should not just judge ourselves from our intentions, but others as well.
I liked the word "creative temple" very much, and it brought up for me a term in India, "karma bhoomeee," which translates to "field of action." Field is quite appropriate, for we plant seeds with our actions, and the fruits we get now are from seeds planted in the past. If we keep planting high quality seeds, then there will come a time that someone will benefit from it. If many of us thought that way, then we would end up converting our field of action into a creative temple. In many ways, I find the space of Wednesdays to be like a creative temple given the beautiful seeds that have been planted over the years.
I liked the focus on the heart, and was reminded of an NPR interview with a sociologist studying movement patterns of communities in San Francisco. At one point, when asked how she noticed so much, she commented, "To see change, one has to be slower than change." That really resonated with me. There is so much going on within us. Unless we slow down to observe (and meditation is one great tool for that), we cannot see the constant upheaval, and are left at the mercy of nature.
I liked how MLK frames this as a continuum and not an absolute yardstick for morality. Reminded me of Sensei Morihei Ueshiba (the founder of Aikido) who remarked once, "It is not that I do not lose my center. I just regain it faster than others." The gap of time between the loss of center and its regaining is what we are all working to shorten and it is a work in progress.
On that note, here is a gap story from last Friday. After watching Wavy Gravy's cool film which Nipun blogged about, we were outside, chatting. A friend came over and suddenly asked me about someone I knew from the past, someone whose memories left a bad taste in my mouth. While I was vibrating with so much positive energy received from the gathering and elsewhere, there was this pot of negativity, tucked away somewhere, and it was for me to choose what to do with it. Ordinarily, I might have told my friend, "come, lets both drink (from this) pot," but this being an evening of freedom, I said, "I have nothing charitable to say about this person, so I'd rather not say anything."
Sounds picture perfect, only it wasn't. In order to come up with that response, I realized that I had drunk a little bit from the pot, and my heart was heavy. That night, as I introspected (that's the gift of a heavy heart), I remembered S. N. Goenka's (teacher of Vipassana meditation) radio interview, which I'd heard two years back, on this tiny dingy tape sold for a dollar at a bookstore in North Fork. In that interview, he was recounting his Burmese experience. The Burmese government, in a fit of nationalism, kicked out all who didn't look Burmese (so the Indians and Chinese were rendered homeless). They also took over all industries, and this included Mr. Goenka's companies, leaving him stranded in India where he'd gone to visit. As he recounted all of this, I was astounded not just with the words but the compassion in his voice. I remember he kept saying, "Oh, they took over every industry because they were convinced it was in the national interest, and therefore they took over my company too." There was not a trace of anger or regret in his voice. Those who have heard him speak might remember how he talks about people who act foolishly, "Oh, they don't know how much they are suffering. May they be happy!" with so much compassion.
That is a very high standard. When a man loses all his possessions and has to start from scratch, and he finds it within himself to not harbor a trace of hatred, that is a saintly man and an ideal to aspire to, an inspiration to shorten the gap.
The stories shared this Wednesday were very deep. Mia's story was mindblowing - how she faced three people with a gun, and did not worry about her own life - only that they had robbed a nun she was accompanying of her only possessions. Mia shared it with so much compassion - how she was convinced that if she only talked to these people, they would understand and return what they had stolen. Although that did not work, she found herself feeling happy for them as they might benefit from the good vibrations of the nun's bowl and the teachings of the Buddha in her bag.