I Think We’re Related! What Should We Do? (Part 3 — MLK’s “Letter…”)
(Mike DePung — Feb. 5, 2018)
I’m thankful for Dr. Martin Luther King’s invitation to sit together at the table of brotherhood. As with any piece of writing in any genre, it’s incomplete until digested by the reader, until someone assigns meaning and relates personally to it. In a sense, it’s a risk, but not if done from Heart-energy and in faith. Dr. King continues to write, so I continue to read and fellowship with him over his “Letter from the Birmingham City Jail.”
In the third paragraph beginning on p. 2, he makes a statement, which is a simple observation of a factual phenomenon: “I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states.” Any contact — positive, negative, or more often than not a sine wave between the two — constitutes interrelatedness. After awareness of the fact, Dr. King, as anyone should who is faced with fact, engages in self-awareness. How do we personally respond and relate to things that are, that exist, that we connect to in any way?
His response is this: “I cannot sit idly by…” For him, his Heart-energized purposed 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.” He spent most of his adult life in pursuit of this purpose. He shares, here, his understanding, both profound and universal. 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 in one massive wrap.
His action begins with this statement: “Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” 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.” He acted, and his actions show he is living his Heart-truth.
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. They 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. Many times, I could not and would not care to distinguish the energy source of others; such matters belong to the individual. However, in some cases involving society, trends, government, or culture the discernment of the prevailing energy becomes clearer.
In issues such as racism, Ego would tell us basic differences exist, and it’s only “logical” we should maintain and reinforce those, isolating ourselves from those not like us. This can occur in a variety of ways based on Ego-charged yet ingenious minds. To those who operate in Ego energy, segregation is a truth. 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.” They have violated their highest Self, their core Self, and their Ego-truths are plain, unvarnished lies against the Heart and Spirit.
Spirit witnesses with each of our hearts that we are humans, equal, blessed, and worthy of mutual consideration and treatment in love. This is light, enlightenment, and our true nature. Dr. King knew, believed, and lived this light.
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 strike resonance in today’s world, because 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 choosing to respond in Heart or Ego.
In that light, it’s not so difficult to understand protests or protestors because each individual is either following Heart or Ego. 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? We each choose, one way or another.
Martin Luther King, Jr., chose Heart power to recognize equality and act in justice. Which energy source are we choosing: Ego or Heart? What action will we take based on our choice?