As we watch the crazy, unfolding drama of humanity, we can easily be overwhelmed by the amount of ignorance, hatred, income inequality, racism and injustice that we see unfolding around us on a daily basis. One of the things that begins to happen for those who are called to a path of awakening, is that we begin to feel a greater love and compassion for others, particularly for those who are less fortunate and have no voice, as well as for our mother earth. We can wonder just how to express this deepening concern and care for others, while staying balanced and true to the practices of love and kindness toward all beings.
Sacred activism, as practiced by spiritual heavyweights like Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh (and so many others), calls on us to first cultivate unconditional love and peace within ourselves through meditation and prayer, and from that calm center, to bring those values into the world around us on a daily basis, through our actions and speech.
As Dr. King said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate, only Love can do that."
As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday this week, we are reminded that, being on a spiritual path doesn't mean that we remain silent about the injustices and imbalances we see around us, but instead, that we speak out and act whenever and wherever our values are being assaulted by ignorance, racism or hatred. Though this may require courage and vigilance, the option of looking away as if nothing is wrong, is no longer a choice for those who are walking a path of awakening and freedom, for as the great Buddhist sage Milarepa once said, 'I cannot be truly free until all Beings are free.'
Again, as Dr. King reminded us:
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments
of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge