“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,
tied in a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dare to be a nonconformist.
Society rewards conformers.
But, posterity honors reformers.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Let us elevate our aspirations,
from the bottom line to the highest good.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
In these critical times,
we need a critical mass
to solve our critical mess.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
As we commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 88th birthday anniversary and remember his “dream” for our society, here is a synchronicity story about Dr. King and poet/author and social reformer Alice Walker, and her poem entitled: “If I Was President”.
Over fifty years have passed since Dr. King’s 1963 “dream” speech, and we are about to inaugurate a new 45th US President, Donald J. Trump. Yet the US still endures most of the flagrant societal injustices addressed by Dr. King and Alice Walker, including unjust incarceration of countless truth-tellers and societal reformers, like Mumia Abu Jamal.
So, again I share this story with the renewed aspiration that together we will realize Dr. King’s ‘dream’; that at long last, we will elevate our societal aspirations from the bottom line to the highest good, and use our common wealth for our common weal.
With ever enhanced compassionate consciousness let us finally end the iniquity of inequity in our society. So that as Abraham Lincoln envisioned, “under God, [we] shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
One January morning I received an email notice of an archived lecture about departed hero Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. given by poet, author, and Buddhist peace activist Alice Walker, in Atlanta in 2006. The lecture was entitled “We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For.” [a YouTube video is linked below]
Because of my great respect for Dr. King as a national hero, and for Alice Walker’s wisdom, artistic genius and exemplary engagement in non-violent peace activism, I listened to the lecture. It was eloquent and moving.
At one point Alice Walker noted the posthumous persistence of social problems addressed by Dr. King before he was assassinated, and she cited as emblematic of our continuing societal injustices the political incarceration and threatened execution of brilliant truth teller journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, following his wrongful conviction for a crime perpetrated by someone else (who belatedly admitted culpability in an affidavit refused by the courts).
Especially, because I regard Abu-Jamal as an unjustly imprisoned ‘great soul’ who was subjected to an extraordinarily unfair trial, I have been amongst the millions world-wide protesting his political incarceration and threatened execution.
Synchronistically, a couple of hours after I listened to the Alice Walker lecture mentioning Abu-Jamal, I received a rare phone call from Prison Radio, an organization dedicated to recording and distributing worldwide weekly radio commentaries by Abu-Jamal then telephoned from death row. (If interested you can listen to those commentaries at the Prison Radio website http://www.prisonradio.org/.)
The caller, Sharyn, invited me to a house party at which Abu-Jamal’s current legal situation was to be be discussed in depth. I told Sharyn that I had just been thinking about Mumia because of Alice Walker’s reference to him in her eloquent Atlanta talk about Dr. King. In response, Sharyn told me that shortly before she called me, Prison Radio had that day just received a new poem written and sent by Alice Walker from Mexico about Mumia and other prominent political prisoners.
Entitled, “If I Was President”, the opening line of the poem says:
“If I was President/The first thing I would do/is call Mumia Abu-Jamal.”
So why did the universe decide to synchronistically communicate with me that day through Dr. King, Alice Walker and Prison Radio about Mumia Abu-Jamal? It is a mystery, and a reminder of how little we understand our miraculous world “reality”.
From space/time perspective, synchronicities are noteworthy or meaningful coincidences in time. But from a cosmic perspective serial time is just an illusory way we think. So Albert Einstein has said:
“People … who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
Inspired by Einstein I have tentatively explained such synchroncities this way:
“Synchronicities are noteworthy “coincidences” in time,
which show us that in Nature,
there is no time and there are no “coincidences –
that everything that is, was, or will be is NOW;
that everything happens in harmony and synchrony
concurrently, not coincidentally.
Synchronicities are like Nature’s positive “bio-feedback’ or ‘radar’ signals showing when we are existing out of time and in the eternal NOW.”
And here is an interesting quote from Deepak Chopra:
“According to Vedanta, there are only two symptoms of enlightenment, just two indications that a transformation is taking place within you toward a higher consciousness. The first symptom is that you stop worrying. Things don’t bother you anymore. You become light hearted and full of joy. The second symptom is that you encounter more and more meaningful coincidences in your life, more and more synchronicities. And this accelerates to the point where you actually experience the miraculous.”
How do you explain synchronicities in your life?
Whether or not we can ever really explain synchronicities, may they ever infuse us with feelings of awe and gratitude for our interdependence with all miraculous and mysterious Life on this precious planet.
Ron’s Commentary Honoring Dr. King.
On the 88th birthday anniversary of departed hero Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., may we join countless others worldwide in honoring and following his visionary legacy of Love. Regrettably just as millions converged to witness Dr. King’s 1963 “I have a dream speech” in Washington, DC during a march for jobs and freedom, in a few days millions more will be gathering in Washington in connection with the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as 45th US President at a time when societal problems addressed by Dr. King over fifty years ago perilously persist.
Dr. King was a fourth generation Baptist preacher and non-violent social activist especially inspired by Jesus and Mahatma Gandhi. He honored and followed Gandhi as “guiding light …. of nonviolent social change’’, and in 1959 journeyed to India to study Gandhian methods. On arrival there, King said: “To other countries, I may go as a tourist, but to India, I come as a pilgrim.”
Ultimately, Dr. King’s life paralleled Gandhi’s life. Each began as an outspoken advocate of inter-racial equality and social justice in racially segregated societies: Gandhi as a South African civil rights lawyer; and King as a Southern-Baptist preacher. Gradually their missions expanded to encompass universal freedom and social justice for everyone everywhere.
Gandhi ultimately inspired independence of the entire Indian subcontinent from almost a century of colonial domination and exploitation by the British raj. Dr. King conscientiously and eloquently decried the fraudulent and immoral US war in Viet Nam, and the entire exploitive US capitalist economic system which fostered perpetual war for perpetual profit of a privileged few, to the undemocratic detriment of an impoverished majority. He said:
“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.” .. “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
“Don’t let anybody make you think God chose America as His divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world.” .. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” ..“The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.”
Like Jesus and Gandhi, Reverend King preached Love and Forgiveness, saying:
“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.” . . . “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.” . . .”The time is always right to do what is right.”. . . “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
In 1964 Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Like Jesus and Gandhi, Reverend King was martyred at the pinnacle of his powers. Dr. King – like President John F. Kennedy – was assassinated by the US military/industrial secret government when his expanding influence became an intolerable barrier to their psychopathic and sociopathic plans for the Viet Nam war and beyond.
To honor Dr. King, I again share this story with the heartfelt aspiration that together we will at long last realize Dr. King’s ‘dream’ and end the iniquity of inequity in our society.
And so may it be!