The Price of War ... and Peace
Passion, Knowledge and Wine

Honor and Consciousness on MLK Day

Yesterday, I was struck by the multiple interpretations of a poster I saw at the King County Library announcing their closure in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday:

[the sign reads: Honor Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday]

One interpretation is that the library is closing in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.  Another interpretation is that the sign is inviting its readers to honor Dr. King.  Yet another interpretation is that the sign is suggesting that honor is what Dr. King was about.

I like this last interpretation best, both because I see Martin Luther King as an honorable man and I see his mission as striving to help us see that we all are brothers and sisters, each equally deserving of honor.

Today I had the honor of enjoying lunch with Dan Oestreich, who I first "met" in the blogosphere exactly a year ago, when I was searching to augment a post I was writing on boxing, belly dancing, boldness and dreams with an inspiring and relevant reference to Martin Luther King.  Dan's insights on Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, posted on the last MLK Day, fit the bill perfectly.  I have since become a regular reader of Dan's blog, and his post today, once again, contains some keen insights into this great leader.  Clare, the 17 year-old daughter of one of Dan's friends, gave a speech at her school about how the racism that Dr. King was fighting against was a result of unconsciousness, and so the best way to elininate racism (and other forms of hatred and fear) is to become more conscious:

To understand racism today, we need to look underneath the surface because no matter who we are, we all feel feelings about people who are different than us. The problem is not that we feel differently about others but that we are afraid to admit to ourselves that we feel differently.

This lack of insight leads to unconscious behavior. Often, I, as well as others, do not take the time to think back to the roots of where our feelings come from. It is so important to know what our feelings are and where they come from because that is how we can learn to change. If you do not know what you feel, you are likely to act unconsciously. Unconsciousness breeds fear and fear breeds hate.


I would like to end with a quote from Martin Luther King,

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become reality. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

[The entire speech can be found here.]

So, on this day honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., I spend a moment of silence, visualizing a world filled with consciousness, unarmed truth and unconditional love.

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