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I know the concepts I write about are simultaneously simple and complicated; they must be because I write about humanity. Therefore, when I say we have a choice about the emotions we feel and the thoughts we think, I know it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Discovering the essence of our nature is the start of spiritual awakening. I write about two operating systems with which we come equipped: ego and heart. The operation of those two forces within us creates complexity, a polarity; the human struggle for meaning, purpose, and relationship resides in this interplay.
We have a choice to awaken to Heart. When we do, courses of action, interaction, purpose, relationships, and life in general make more sense. Struggles and challenges continue; they always will because that’s part of why we come here: to explore, discover, innovate, and create.
Many challenges fall under the umbrella of the rights of humanity, natural rights, rights acknowledged in documents like the Declaration of Independence. When the Declaration says “all men are created equal” and that such a truth predicates “certain unalienable rights,” heart response says this means everyone — men, women, all races, ethnicities, etc.
Ensuring equality within the framework of a nation presents challenges, but none of those challenges should deny basic rights to anyone. The government should work for the common good — the most possible good to the most possible people down to the least among us without abridging others’ rights — is operative.
Choices about our actions, interactions, and reactions to such rights will be done, whether consciously or subconsciously, in the energy of Ego or Heart. Ego-energized choices aren’t necessarily wrong; they simply carry different consequences. However, when leaders or anyone else purposefully chooses Ego in known contradiction to Heart energy, that becomes a wrong for the rest of us whose rights would be abrogated.
Martin Luther King, Jr., chose, primarily, to work from Heart, and we can benefit from his wisdom. Therefore, I continue sharing my responses and interactions with his work.
I Think We’re Related! What Should We Do?
I’m thankful for Dr. Martin Luther King’s invitation to sit together at the table of brotherhood. As with any piece of writing, it’s incomplete until digested by the reader, until someone assigns meaning and relates personally to it.
I can meet with Dr. King about this because he makes a simple observation of a factual phenomenon: “I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states” (King 2). Any contact constitutes interrelatedness. After acknowledgment of the fact, Dr. King engages in self-awareness.
How do we personally respond and relate to things with which we connect in any way? While acknowledging our interrelatedness is simple, relating to that truth on a personal level is complex. We have a choice.
He responds like this: “I cannot sit idly by…” For him, his heart-energized purpose engaged him in the quest for justice. He gives the rationale for this reaction when he says, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (King 2). He spent most of his adult life in pursuit of this purpose of justice. He shares, here, his understanding. When Dr. King writes, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny,” this demands a response. He must do something with this reality that each human is not only made of the same cloth but also shrouded — all of us together — in one massive shawl.
His action begins with this statement: “Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly” (King 2). This personal truth of his prompts him to action; he journeys from Atlanta to Birmingham and involves his organization in the nonviolent protests. For this, he is accused of being an “outside agitator” (King 2). He acted, and his actions show he is living his heart truth. Meaningful actions are based in solid beliefs, philosophies that hold us steady as we act.
The white power base knew a decision was required on their part, a decision in response to the message and action of Dr. King and those who followed him. They could join in the fellowship of the heart, or they could rebuke light, goodness, and love. White authorities put him in jail; for them, ego prevailed.
At our core, our essence, each of us is a Spirit-bearer; we each have heart. We have ego, too. The difference between outcomes from acting, feeling, sensing, making decisions, and any mind-soul-body function is whether the energy derives from ego or heart.
I try not to distinguish the energy source of others; matters of motivation belong to the individual. However, in trends of society, government, or culture, the prevailing energy manifests. Actions that strip anyone of their basic human dignities, rights, freedom, or equality, actions that tend to destruction, denigration, or degradation — those actions are based on beliefs fueled by ego.
It’s a choice. Choose heart energy. (Photo by Michelle Bonkosky on Unsplash)Ego-fueled racists believe essential, rather than surface, differences exist, which make racism “logical”; therefore, they would say, we should maintain and reinforce those differences by isolating ourselves from the Other. This can occur in a variety of ways based on ego-charged yet ingenious minds. To those who operate in ego energy, segregation makes sense. Such people would not normally call themselves bigoted, prejudiced, or racist because they have used ego reasoning to convince themselves that their way is “natural.” Such reasoning is truth to the ego-fueled mind, but all have a choice. When we willfully choose ego over heart, we violate our highest Self, our core Self, and our ego-truths are plain, unvarnished lies against the heart.
Spirit witnesses with each of our hearts that we are humans, equal, blessed, and worthy of mutual consideration and treatment in love. This is love, enlightenment, and our true nature. Dr. King knew, believed, and lived this.
The facts that we are “interrelated” and “caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny” demand a response, because we are human. Like a tuning fork thumped on the side of the hand, Dr. King’s sentiments and his truths vibrate in today’s world seeking hearts with which they resonate. Our interrelatedness has been accelerated technologically and economically, and more than ever our mutuality has been irrevocably established. We must choose to either love in heart or hate in ego those to whom we are linked. The love or hate may be manifested across a spectrum of words and deeds, but it boils down to each one of us making our choice.
In that light, it’s not so difficult to understand protests or protestors. How do we feel about those who are treated unjustly under the guise of law and order to protect a favored race’s status quo? Do we see ourselves being treated unfairly in such scenarios? Dr. King did: “Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly” (King 2). Jesus said when any act, whether borne of hatred or love, is done to the least, the poorest, the outcast, he felt it personally. Do we?
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!