Martin Luther King | The Sweet Spot


“You can kill the dreamer, but you can’t kill the dream.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Aloha, Friends!

He bequeathed to us such heroic passion for justice that everyone who is conscious loves Martin Luther King, Jr. As he is being celebrated on Monday for his vision and goodness, I recall reading his blunt assessment of society: “We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools.”

A gifted pastor and visionary leader of the Civil Rights movement, his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D. C. on a Wednesday, April 28th, 1963, still inspires me today.

The crowd of 250,000 people peacefully assembled for the massive March on Washington for Jobs and Justice felt the potency of his dream. “We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again,” he proclaimed, “We must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

He brought an almost superhuman strength to his effort, and today, in honor of him, please join me in taking a moment to receive his mingled feelings of grief and hope, despair and devotion, the dance of opposites he managed to turn into oratorical art. He faced the truth, but he never wallowed in despair.

He looked at injustice with clear eyes and a steady gaze and never allowed setbacks to deter him, as we cannot. Let his presence wash over us, and may they cleanse from our field any lingering racial or social misperceptions that lead to inequalities. Restorative justice is co-creating a new world that works for everyone, and each will do their essential part.

“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy,” he said on that late summer day. “Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.

“Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

“It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.
“Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning.

“And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

“But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

Are you ready to stand your ground, walk your talk, and speak in the language of the Soul through the deep song that is your truth, as Dr. King did? Without aggression, without lying to ourselves, without reproach for where we were wrong but with delight for the right actions we are taking today.

Awakening the next spiral of our shared world with love, laughter, and integrity requires one tiny little major thing: peace of mind in all 37.5 trillion or so cells in the body. World peace and racial harmony require our inner peace and harmony.

The secret is to notice that a mind cannot find peace in an angry, suffering, or embittered body. If your body starts to lock up in tension, or you clench your teeth, or stop the breath, stay curious about the inner working of the mind, the nature of the body, and how the breath opens everything up so you can see things more clearly.

There was an amazing unity in Dr. King’s speech, his cadences, his communion of the high-mindedness and low feelings of dismay that it had taken so long for freedom to ring, and the way he delivered it. Putting his body on the line day after day in the long march for justice, he demonstrated a mind unified with the body in the service of a principle greater than himself.

We are forever changed by such humility, unity, and completeness in a human being. Leaving nothing out, we too can bring all our fears, hopes, and sensitivities to the dance of opposites. The far-flung ingredients that fuel the inner fire with insight, purpose, and the right balance of passion and contentment, the sweet spot. Rooted in our willingness to stay mindful, to include everything, and to commit to our wholeness, even our disappointments, the sweet spot is where our wholeness resides. After all, what is wholeness unless it includes the whole, both shadow and Light?

In samadhi, in the unity that permeates the field of Yoga, between the hard, extreme edges, there is no conflict, only luminosity, the sweet spot.

Thank you, Dr. King, for demonstrating the state of peace and eloquence we as a species are capable of. Let’s inaugurate a new era to finally realize the dream.

May his spirit of non-violence hover over us in the coming days and protect all who are working hard to create “a more perfect union.”


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King, Jr.


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- Yoga Sutras I.33


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