Monthly Archives: September 2011

IF NOT TODAY

 

written by Ga-el Shamir

 

 

There awaits solace in mortality
Rebirth unveils
By no means are we casualties living in a war zone
With brittle bones and deception

Traveling towards our authentic state of existence
With “Permission” of course
Divorced from this world
As we know it

Renouncing chaos, perplexity and discord
Separation from ceremonial rituals
To weep our departure
For sure

Swiftly by way of intervals
The aged is no more
The ailing, non-existent
Tormented, never
Quite clever

“The awakening”

Transitioning toward a beautiful composition of sort
Equivocal splendor
The word “Gender” transformed

Astonishing explosions of irradiating shades
Unblemished they never fade
My favored the vividness of jade

Gazing in silence as each tint penetrates through
This rapacity continues
Harmony, the venue
Tranquility defines the menu
Consciousness turns out to be fictitious

Gosh!
I’m learning

Nearby life expectancy is just a flicker away from today
Beyond the clouds
“We as a race of ONE are richer”
I foresee

Guided by the ONE who is called “Teacher”
Take a moment, close your eyes, to picture
This glorious “Phenomenon” take flight

©Geel, 2011

*****

Working with hospice patients and the disabled, caring for their everyday needs, feeding them, washing them, clothing them, and so much more, with humility, allows me to give back to Humanity while approaching their lasts days here on Earth; I do my best to bring comfort peace and LOVE, no matter the color, the gender, or faith based belief. This poem is dedicated to all those whom I have had the privilege of knowing who are still here, as well as those who have arrived at our original home. Thank you for allowing me to care for you. Truly, I have grown. ~ Geel

THE ETHEREAL MUSIC OF SHARON LYN SHEPARD

Sharon Lyn Shepard’s passion is to “inspire you to move through life with the natural rhythm of your heartbeat in harmony with the magic bubbling up from within you.” She cultivates her passion to inspire within the music she creates and shares from her Soul. The ethereal sound resonating from the Harp and the spiritual energy that flows through her lyrics melt together into fluid movement, as gentle as the intimate ebb and flow of waves on a shoreline. Sharon Lyn Shepard’s gift is entrancing. Her music draws the listener into an aura of complete serenity and bliss.

Below is a selection from her collection of works entitled Whispers Of The Heart, which she recorded on 10-10-10 at 10:10 a.m.. “Enjoy a slice of heaven by journeying into your heart.”

To learn more about this illuminated Harpist, Artist, and amazing Soul, visit Sharon Lyn’s blog “Divine Musings” or visit her on Facebook.

WHY I SEE FEAR AS MY FRIEND

Fear is not harmful. The purpose of all feelings is to guide us in life according to our best, and fear is no exception … We will find fear that is as constructive and joyful feeling as any other feeling … appreciate it, since it tells us much about our relation to the world.
(Healing Eagle)

In a discussion recently with some friends on Facebook regarding the freedom one experiences when they face fears and overcome them, I was led to further self-inquiry on the issue of Fear. What I realized was how much Fear was as much a catalyst in my evolution of life, as any other emotion … maybe more.

In fact, I can look at Fear and, with the eyes that I view life with now, see a friend. Albeit, a dry-humored-kind-of-friend. You know, the kind of friend that after being in their presence, it takes you days before you realize that what they were conveying was more in jest than in criticism!

Not everything which is bad comes to hurt us.
(Italian Proverb)

For instance, my friend, “Fear,” fires up my obstinate nature and pushes me to face challenging situations; to take action. My friend, “Fear,” opens up the flood gates to allow tears of frustration, anxiety and stress to flow out, when I try to stuff more of same inside. My friend, “Fear,” reminds me I have choices. I can choose to move forward in life, through any obstacle, or I have a choice to fall back and sink in the quicksand of regret.

I must admit, for many years, I viewed Fear through negative eyes. In fact, I had grown to fear Fear. Whenever Fear appeared, I would try to run from it, deny it, suppress it, anything but face and acknowledge it. That is, until one day, I was so tired of eluding Fear, that I decided to sit with it. What I noticed was the more I acknowledged Fear, the less it would come to visit. In essence, fear seems to dissipate as fast as I accept it, inquire of its intention and purpose, and send it on its way.

Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.
Karl Augustus Menninger

I know for certain Fear will come around again to visit. It is a friend I can count on to show up and keep me in check.

AGAPE, A LOVE DIVINE

There are those who kill killers
who kill to teach them not to kill,
creating haters who hate those who hate;
Isn’t that hateful?

Hate separates and love unites.
Jesus love.
Buddha love.
Universal divine love.

The kind of love given to killers who kill
sowing seeds of forgiveness and compassion;
The kind of love given to haters who hate
implanting benevolent thoughts, words and actions.

A FINAL BOW OF HONOR TO DR. WANGARI MAATHAI (1940-2011)

African environmentalist and Nobel Peace prizewinner, Dr. Wangari Maathai, has passed away at the age of 71, after a prolonged and bravely borne struggle with cancer.

The above portrait of Wangari Maathai was taken in 2004, in Kiriti, Kenya. She served as Kenyan assistant environment minister from 2003, founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, the largest tree-planting project in Africa; aimed at promoting biodiversity and creating jobs and giving women a stronger identity in society.

Let us stand up for each other, irrespective of our ethnic backgrounds and political persuasions. Injustice to one is injustice to all of us. If we, individually and collectively, are not the conscience of our country, then who is? (Prof. Maathai)

Wangari Muta Maathai was born in 1940 in Nyeri, Kenya, a mid-sized town in the foothills of Mount Kenya. She was determined to get an education even though most girls in her community were uneducated. She was a star student and won a scholarship to study biology at Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas. She went on to obtain a doctorate in veterinary anatomy, becoming the first woman in East or Central Africa to hold such a degree, according to the Nobel Prize Web site. She formed the Green Belt Movement in 1977 which planted trees across Kenya to fight erosion and to create fuel (i.e., firewood) and jobs for women.

Dr. Maathai is truly one of the most pivotal beings of our time. This electrifying and unwearying Kikuyu woman of Kenya, whose ray of light pierced through dark clouds, has held her head high with dignity and integrity in the face or oppression. The painful adversity she also faced when Kenya was not a land of freedom, but a state that sowed seeds of discord while at the same time crushing the spirit of its own people. It was Dr. Wangari’s internal strength and tenacious voice, her never-ending effort to stand strong in the winds of injustice, and her unconditional love of mankind that ensures her Spirit will continue to be honored by many. Dr. Maathai leaves this planet a legacy, a testimony of the fact that progress and growth does not require destroying the beautiful Mother Earth, or scalping her of her magnificent resources to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the beast called Greed.

Today, Humanity gives a final bow of honor to Dr. Wangari Maathai. May she rest in peace.

To learn more about this incredible Soul, I recommend you read Unbowed : a Memoir. In Unbowed, Wangari Maathai offers an inspiring message of hope and prosperity through self-sufficiency.

KISS THE EARTH

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Bring the Earth your love and happiness.
The Earth will be safe
when we feel safe in ourselves.
(by Thich Nhat Hanh)

SERENITY

A mind quieted in tranquil silence,
A heart fortified in immaculate truth,
A mouth flowered in assured optimism,
The eyes defined in untainted clarity,
The hands calloused in compassionate giving;
Collectively the armor of a peaceful Soul,
The birthplace of Serenity.

HONOR AND RESPECT IS UNIVERSALLY DIVINE

Whether East meets West or North meets South, there is a common greeting though it may be masked under different names.  A greeting honoring the divine unity in all beings.

For instance, in Mayan tradition, there is a greeting referred to as the law of Lak’ech Ala K’in, which traditionally means “I am you, and you are me.”  This greeting signifies the importance of honoring each other. It is a statement of unity and oneness. Lak’ech Ala K’in mirrors the same esoteric essence of greetings in Namaste.

Namaste comes from the Sanskrit word “namah (bow) and te (you)”; it is both a Hindi and Nepali word with a literal translation: “bow me you” or “I bow to you.” The hands are brought together and held over the heart, bowing, with eyes closed, and mind surrendered to the divine love within. According to Aadil Palkhivala, one of the world’s top yoga teachers, “The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another.” Namaste is a gesture that is used in various contexts. On one hand it is used for greeting elders; on the other, it is used in the practice of yoga as an important Mudra. Though widely used in the practice of Buddhism, Namaste also signifies reverence and honor on the part of one person towards another being.  This is also similar to Gassho.

Gassho is important in the practice of traditional Japanese Reiki. The gesture is both a hand position and a term of greeting and salutation. As a hand position the palms are placed together with the fingers pointing upwards with the joined hands positioned in front of and touching the sternum. In some traditions the joined hands are place directly in front of the face. When used as an expression verbally the hand position is implied. Gassho is an expression of respect, appreciation, and prayer.

At that time Shariputra’s mind danced with joy. Then he immediately stood up, pressed his palms together, gazed up in reverence at the face of the Honored-One, and said to the Buddha, “Just now, when I heard from the World-Honored One, this voice of the Law, voltarol my mind seemed to dance and I gained what I had never had before. (Chapter 3 of the Lotus Sutra)

In certain religions, such as Christianity and Catholicism, a similar gesture is used and it is referred to as Prayer. The hands are brought together tip to tip, palm to palm, pointing towards the heavens.  It is a gesture of reverence to the divine creator or God.  Some consider prayer as talking to God and meditation listening to God. Regardless of whether the practitioner is talking or listening to the Divine One, it requires mindfulness, a heart-attitude of love, humbleness and faith. What we think in the deepest part of our hearts, about God, about ourselves and about other people, is more important than what we say to God and is more important than how we say it. As in all that we do in our lives, including as we seek to pray, a check of our motives ought to come before a check of our actions. The reason is that why we do something is more important than what we do.

So, essentially, whether one comes from the North, South, East or West, regardless of the culture or religion, when greeting another being, and that greeting comes from the heart, from the Soul, the message is the same: divine universal honor and respect.

“Wakan Tanka, Great Mystery,
teach me how to trust my heart,
my mind,
my intuition,
my inner knowing,
the senses of my body,
the blessings of my spirit.
Teach me to trust these things
so that I may enter my Sacred Space
and love beyond my fear,
and thus Walk in Balance
with the passing of each glorious Sun.”
(Lakota Prayer)

CHILDREN ALL OVER THE WORLD CELEBRATE PEACE

September 21 is designated by The United Nations as International Day Of Peace.  A day to bring people together, regardless of cultural, religious or other identities, to celebrate peace and non-violence throughout the world. The first Peace Day was held in 1982. A variety of events take place all over the world, from parades and peaceful marches, to activities arranged by students. The latter merits commendation, as children are the future peacemakers of our world.

Students from The Children’s House Montessori School in Camden, Maine, along with their teachers, gathered around a peace pole. They placed peace stones around the base of the pole. These stones contained each student’s wish for peace. One of the messages read, “May peace prevail on earth.” Afterwards, members of the community joined the students and teachers in a parade through the town.

At a youth peace camp in Africa, students and counselors reflected on the words of Martin Luther King Jr., dedicating themselves to the nonviolent pursuit of peace and justice. They created and signed a a group peace commitment, that states as follows:

We who participated in the peace camp,
we swear in God’s and men’s eyes
that we will be catalysts for peace in both good and bad times,
valuing everybody, mediating,
resolving conflict without favouritism,
helping to make informed and wise solutions,
striving for peace and restorative justice,
fighting any type of violence,
guided by the word of God,
may God help us to achieve this noble commitment.


Alexandra, a fifth-grader at Sacred Heart Cathedral School in Knoxville, Tennessee, was one of many students who participated in celebrating International Day of Peace using none other than pinwheels. In fact, students from Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada and Africa, also created their own pinwheels decorated with individual messages of peace, then placed outside of the respective schools. Some students used their pinwheels to spell out “Peace.”

    “To be peaceful, you don’t have to do anything big,” said Alexandra, “It’s not like you have to do some ginormous thing,” the 10-year-old said Wednesday morning before heading off to her first class of the day. “You can do small things, too, just to help. Without peace, no one would be friends and it would just be a sad world.”

An art teacher at Sacred Heart, who helped organize the event, explains the intent behind the international pinwheel project:

    “As the (pinwheels) spin, these good vibes are supposed to be spread,” she said. “You’re imagining 3.5 million spinning pinwheels with good thoughts and good vibes.”

In the United Kingdom, students at the St. Peters Junior school in Raunds celebrated the International Day of Peace by wearing white clothes. The students also created decorative paper doves, which is the International symbol of peace, and then used the day to reflect in class the importance of peace in the world, as well as how to solve conflicts.

The way I see it isn’t necessarily the way you see it … or the way it is or ought to be … what’s more important is that we’re all looking for it and a way to see it.~Desi Di Nardo

How important is peace? Peace is the essence of existence. Peace permeates with freedom … freedom to pursue one’s dreams without fear of violence, retribution or suppression. Peace nurtures an individual’s ability to express one’s self. Peace provides the opportunity to relate to others with understanding, compassion and love. It is the premise of Humanity’s survival.

Ask any child, they are more able to talk about the necessity of peace in the world than most adults. The children of our world give peace a chance!

“LOVE” IS MY RELIGION

How many times in your life have you been asked, “what is your religion?” I find this question is often asked at hospitals or clinics where death may be a slight to possible outcome.  One may also be asked while visiting a temple, synagogue, mosque or church, engaged in conversation with another person or participating in a debate, and sometimes the question even appears on forms and applications. For the longest time, I gave “Nazarene” or “Baptist” as my answer; sometimes I gave no answer.  Yet, never, until recent years, did I respond with “Love.”

Yes, if I have to choose a religion, I have to declare my religion is Love. Why not Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Shinto, Atheism, Scientology, Judaism, Rastafarianism, Wicca, Zoroastrianism, you ask?  Is there a Universal mandate that states only one religion must be chosen and assigned to each being within the human race? When I opened my mind and heart and allowed myself to be a student of all religions, I found that I could find some truth in them all which I could apply to my life.

The one string that connects all religions is L-O-V-E.  The commonality being faith and hope … faith and hope in something more divine than the existence of man. I also found that Love does not discriminate or separate.  Love exists no matter what race, culture, class, education, sex, or religion.  Love can be given at no cost, and received at no cost.  There is no prerequisite one must master before he/she can receive or give love.

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. ~Buddha

I recently came across a sermon from another cultivator of Love, the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. This particular piece was a sermon he gave at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, in Montgomery, Alabama on November 17, 1957. Regardless of the particular religion or religions a person adheres to, there is a beautiful message he/she can receive from the following oration.

******

Loving Your Enemies
by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama
November 17 1957

I am forced to preach under something of a handicap this morning. In fact, I had the doctor before coming to church. And he said that it would be best for me to stay in the bed this morning. And I insisted that I would have to come to preach. So he allowed me to come out with one stipulation, and that is that I would not come in the pulpit until time to preach, and that after, that I would immediately go back home and get in the bed. So I’m going to try to follow his instructions from that point on.

I want to use as a subject from which to preach this morning a very familiar subject, and it is familiar to you because I have preached from this subject twice before to my knowing in this pulpit. I try to make it a, something of a custom or tradition to preach from this passage of Scripture at least once a year, adding new insights that I develop along the way out of new experiences as I give these messages. Although the content is, the basic content is the same, new insights and new experiences naturally make for new illustrations.

So I want to turn your attention to this subject: “Loving Your Enemies.” It’s so basic to me because it is a part of my basic philosophical and theological orientation—the whole idea of love, the whole philosophy of love. In the fifth chapter of the gospel as recorded by Saint Matthew, we read these very arresting words flowing from the lips of our Lord and Master:

“Ye have heard that it has been said, ‘Thou shall love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.”

Certainly these are great words, words lifted to cosmic proportions. And over the centuries, many persons have argued that this is an extremely difficult command. Many would go so far as to say that it just isn’t possible to move out into the actual practice of this glorious command. They would go on to say that this is just additional proof that Jesus was an impractical idealist who never quite came down to earth. So the arguments abound. But far from being an impractical idealist, Jesus has become the practical realist. The words of this text glitter in our eyes with a new urgency. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, this command is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. Yes, it is love that will save our world and our civilization, love even for enemies.

Now let me hasten to say that Jesus was very serious when he gave this command; he wasn’t playing. He realized that it’s hard to love your enemies. He realized that it’s difficult to love those persons who seek to defeat you, those persons who say evil things about you. He realized that it was painfully hard, pressingly hard. But he wasn’t playing. And we cannot dismiss this passage as just another example of Oriental hyperbole, just a sort of exaggeration to get over the point. This is a basic philosophy of all that we hear coming from the lips of our Master. Because Jesus wasn’t playing; because he was serious. We have the Christian and moral responsibility to seek to discover the meaning of these words, and to discover how we can live out this command, and why we should live by this command.

Now first let us deal with this question, which is the practical question: How do you go about loving your enemies? I think the first thing is this: In order to love your enemies, you must begin by analyzing self. And I’m sure that seems strange to you, that I start out telling you this morning that you love your enemies by beginning with a look at self. It seems to me that that is the first and foremost way to come to an adequate discovery to the how of this situation.

Now, I’m aware of the fact that some people will not like you, not because of something you have done to them, but they just won’t like you. I’m quite aware of that. Some people aren’t going to like the way you walk; some people aren’t going to like the way you talk. Some people aren’t going to like you because you can do your job better than they can do theirs. Some people aren’t going to like you because other people like you, and because you’re popular, and because you’re well-liked, they aren’t going to like you. Some people aren’t going to like you because your hair is a little shorter than theirs or your hair is a little longer than theirs. Some people aren’t going to like you because your skin is a little brighter than theirs; and others aren’t going to like you because your skin is a little darker than theirs. So that some people aren’t going to like you. They’re going to dislike you, not because of something that you’ve done to them, but because of various jealous reactions and other reactions that are so prevalent in human nature.

But after looking at these things and admitting these things, we must face the fact that an individual might dislike us because of something that we’ve done deep down in the past, some personality attribute that we possess, something that we’ve done deep down in the past and we’ve forgotten about it; but it was that something that aroused the hate response within the individual. That is why I say, begin with yourself. There might be something within you that arouses the tragic hate response in the other individual.

This is true in our international struggle. We look at the struggle, the ideological struggle between communism on the one hand and democracy on the other, and we see the struggle between America and Russia. Now certainly, we can never give our allegiance to the Russian way of life, to the communistic way of life, because communism is based on an ethical relativism and a metaphysical materialism that no Christian can accept. When we look at the methods of communism, a philosophy where somehow the end justifies the means, we cannot accept that because we believe as Christians that the end is pre-existent in the means. But in spite of all of the weaknesses and evils inherent in communism, we must at the same time see the weaknesses and evils within democracy.

Democracy is the greatest form of government to my mind that man has ever conceived, but the weakness is that we have never touched it. Isn’t it true that we have often taken necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes? Isn’t it true that we have often in our democracy trampled over individuals and races with the iron feet of oppression? Isn’t it true that through our Western powers we have perpetuated colonialism and imperialism? And all of these things must be taken under consideration as we look at Russia. We must face the fact that the rhythmic beat of the deep rumblings of discontent from Asia and Africa is at bottom a revolt against the imperialism and colonialism perpetuated by Western civilization all these many years. The success of communism in the world today is due to the failure of democracy to live up to the noble ideals and principles inherent in its system.

And this is what Jesus means when he said: “How is it that you can see the mote in your brother’s eye and not see the beam in your own eye?” Or to put it in Moffatt’s translation: “How is it that you see the splinter in your brother’s eye and fail to see the plank in your own eye?” And this is one of the tragedies of human nature. So we begin to love our enemies and love those persons that hate us whether in collective life or individual life by looking at ourselves.

A second thing that an individual must do in seeking to love his enemy is to discover the element of good in his enemy, and every time you begin to hate that person and think of hating that person, realize that there is some good there and look at those good points which will over-balance the bad points.

I’ve said to you on many occasions that each of us is something of a schizophrenic personality. We’re split up and divided against ourselves. And there is something of a civil war going on within all of our lives. There is a recalcitrant South of our soul revolting against the North of our soul. And there is this continual struggle within the very structure of every individual life. There is something within all of us that causes us to cry out with Ovid, the Latin poet,

“I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do.”

There is something within all of us that causes us to cry out with Plato that the human personality is like a charioteer with two headstrong horses, each wanting to go in different directions. There is something within each of us that causes us to cry out with Goethe,

“There is enough stuff in me to make both a gentleman and a rogue.”

There is something within each of us that causes us to cry out with Apostle Paul,

“I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do.”

So somehow the “isness” of our present nature is out of harmony with the eternal “oughtness” that forever confronts us. And this simply means this: That within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals. The person who hates you most has some good in him; even the nation that hates you most has some good in it; even the race that hates you most has some good in it. And when you come to the point that you look in the face of every man and see deep down within him what religion calls “the image of God,” you begin to love him in spite of. No matter what he does, you see God’s image there. There is an element of goodness that he can never sluff off. Discover the element of good in your enemy. And as you seek to hate him, find the center of goodness and place your attention there and you will take a new attitude.

Another way that you love your enemy is this: When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it. There will come a time, in many instances, when the person who hates you most, the person who has misused you most, the person who has gossiped about you most, the person who has spread false rumors about you most, there will come a time when you will have an opportunity to defeat that person. It might be in terms of a recommendation for a job; it might be in terms of helping that person to make some move in life. That’s the time you must do it. That is the meaning of love. In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about. It’s not merely an emotional something. Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.

The Greek language, as I’ve said so often before, is very powerful at this point. It comes to our aid beautifully in giving us the real meaning and depth of the whole philosophy of love. And I think it is quite apropos at this point, for you see the Greek language has three words for love, interestingly enough. It talks about love as eros. That’s one word for love. Eros is a sort of, aesthetic love. Plato talks about it a great deal in his dialogues, a sort of yearning of the soul for the realm of the gods. And it’s come to us to be a sort of romantic love, though it’s a beautiful love. Everybody has experienced eros in all of its beauty when you find some individual that is attractive to you and that you pour out all of your like and your love on that individual. That is eros, you see, and it’s a powerful, beautiful love that is given to us through all of the beauty of literature; we read about it.

Then the Greek language talks about philia, and that’s another type of love that’s also beautiful. It is a sort of intimate affection between personal friends. And this is the type of love that you have for those persons that you’re friendly with, your intimate friends, or people that you call on the telephone and you go by to have dinner with, and your roommate in college and that type of thing. It’s a sort of reciprocal love. On this level, you like a person because that person likes you. You love on this level, because you are loved. You love on this level, because there’s something about the person you love that is likeable to you. This too is a beautiful love. You can communicate with a person; you have certain things in common; you like to do things together. This is philia.

The Greek language comes out with another word for love. It is the word agape. And agape is more than eros; agape is more than philia; agape is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him. And he might be the worst person you’ve ever seen.

And this is what Jesus means, I think, in this very passage when he says, “Love your enemy.” And it’s significant that he does not say, “Like your enemy.” Like is a sentimental something, an affectionate something. There are a lot of people that I find it difficult to like. I don’t like what they do to me. I don’t like what they say about me and other people. I don’t like their attitudes. I don’t like some of the things they’re doing. I don’t like them. But Jesus says love them. And love is greater than like. Love is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men, so that you love everybody, because God loves them. You refuse to do anything that will defeat an individual, because you have agape in your soul. And here you come to the point that you love the individual who does the evil deed, while hating the deed that the person does. This is what Jesus means when he says, “Love your enemy.” This is the way to do it. When the opportunity presents itself when you can defeat your enemy, you must not do it.

Now for the few moments left, let us move from the practical how to the theoretical why. It’s not only necessary to know how to go about loving your enemies, but also to go down into the question of why we should love our enemies. I think the first reason that we should love our enemies, and I think this was at the very center of Jesus’ thinking, is this: that hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and go on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. [tapping on pulpit] It just never ends. Somewhere somebody must have a little sense, and that’s the strong person. The strong person is the person who can cut off the chain of hate, the chain of evil. And that is the tragedy of hate, that it doesn’t cut it off. It only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. Somebody must have religion enough and morality enough to cut it off and inject within the very structure of the universe that strong and powerful element of love.

I think I mentioned before that sometime ago my brother and I were driving one evening to Chattanooga, Tennessee, from Atlanta. He was driving the car. And for some reason the drivers were very discourteous that night. They didn’t dim their lights; hardly any driver that passed by dimmed his lights. And I remember very vividly, my brother A. D. looked over and in a tone of anger said: “I know what I’m going to do. The next car that comes along here and refuses to dim the lights, I’m going to fail to dim mine and pour them on in all of their power.” And I looked at him right quick and said: “Oh no, don’t do that. There’d be too much light on this highway, and it will end up in mutual destruction for all. Somebody got to have some sense on this highway.”

Somebody must have sense enough to dim the lights, and that is the trouble, isn’t it? That as all of the civilizations of the world move up the highway of history, so many civilizations, having looked at other civilizations that refused to dim the lights, and they decided to refuse to dim theirs. And Toynbee tells that out of the twenty-two civilizations that have risen up, all but about seven have found themselves in the junkheap of destruction. It is because civilizations fail to have sense enough to dim the lights. And if somebody doesn’t have sense enough to turn on the dim and beautiful and powerful lights of love in this world, the whole of our civilization will be plunged into the abyss of destruction. And we will all end up destroyed because nobody had any sense on the highway of history. Somewhere somebody must have some sense. Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody. Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe. And you do that by love.

There’s another reason why you should love your enemies, and that is because hate distorts the personality of the hater. We usually think of what hate does for the individual hated or the individuals hated or the groups hated. But it is even more tragic, it is even more ruinous and injurious to the individual who hates. You just begin hating somebody, and you will begin to do irrational things. You can’t see straight when you hate. You can’t walk straight when you hate. You can’t stand upright. Your vision is distorted. There is nothing more tragic than to see an individual whose heart is filled with hate. He comes to the point that he becomes a pathological case. For the person who hates, you can stand up and see a person and that person can be beautiful, and you will call them ugly. For the person who hates, the beautiful becomes ugly and the ugly becomes beautiful. For the person who hates, the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good. For the person who hates, the true becomes false and the false becomes true. That’s what hate does. You can’t see right. The symbol of objectivity is lost. Hate destroys the very structure of the personality of the hater. And this is why Jesus says hate …[recording interrupted]

… that you want to be integrated with yourself, and the way to be integrated with yourself is be sure that you meet every situation of life with an abounding love. Never hate, because it ends up in tragic, neurotic responses. Psychologists and psychiatrists are telling us today that the more we hate, the more we develop guilt feelings and we begin to subconsciously repress or consciously suppress certain emotions, and they all stack up in our subconscious selves and make for tragic, neurotic responses. And may this not be the neuroses of many individuals as they confront life that that is an element of hate there. And modern psychology is calling on us now to love. But long before modern psychology came into being, the world’s greatest psychologist who walked around the hills of Galilee told us to love. He looked at men and said: “Love your enemies; don’t hate anybody.” It’s not enough for us to hate your friends because—to to love your friends—because when you start hating anybody, it destroys the very center of your creative response to life and the universe; so love everybody. Hate at any point is a cancer that gnaws away at the very vital center of your life and your existence. It is like eroding acid that eats away the best and the objective center of your life. So Jesus says love, because hate destroys the hater as well as the hated.

Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. That’s why Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” Because if you hate your enemies, you have no way to redeem and to transform your enemies. But if you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption. You just keep loving people and keep loving them, even though they’re mistreating you. Here’s the person who is a neighbor, and this person is doing something wrong to you and all of that. Just keep being friendly to that person. Keep loving them. Don’t do anything to embarrass them. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with bitterness because they’re mad because you love them like that. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.

I think of one of the best examples of this. We all remember the great president of this United States, Abraham Lincoln—these United States rather. You remember when Abraham Lincoln was running for president of the United States, there was a man who ran all around the country talking about Lincoln. He said a lot of bad things about Lincoln, a lot of unkind things. And sometimes he would get to the point that he would even talk about his looks, saying, “You don’t want a tall, lanky, ignorant man like this as the president of the United States.” He went on and on and on and went around with that type of attitude and wrote about it. Finally, one day Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States. And if you read the great biography of Lincoln, if you read the great works about him, you will discover that as every president comes to the point, he came to the point of having to choose a Cabinet. And then came the time for him to choose a Secretary of War. He looked across the nation, and decided to choose a man by the name of Mr. Stanton. And when Abraham Lincoln stood around his advisors and mentioned this fact, they said to him: “Mr. Lincoln, are you a fool? Do you know what Mr. Stanton has been saying about you? Do you know what he has done, tried to do to you? Do you know that he has tried to defeat you on every hand? Do you know that, Mr. Lincoln? Did you read all of those derogatory statements that he made about you?” Abraham Lincoln stood before the advisors around him and said:

“Oh yes, I know about it; I read about it; I’ve heard him myself. But after looking over the country, I find that he is the best man for the job.”

Mr. Stanton did become Secretary of War, and a few months later, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. And if you go to Washington, you will discover that one of the greatest words or statements ever made by, about Abraham Lincoln was made about this man Stanton. And as Abraham Lincoln came to the end of his life, Stanton stood up and said: “Now he belongs to the ages.” And he made a beautiful statement concerning the character and the stature of this man. If Abraham Lincoln had hated Stanton, if Abraham Lincoln had answered everything Stanton said, Abraham Lincoln would have not transformed and redeemed Stanton. Stanton would have gone to his grave hating Lincoln, and Lincoln would have gone to his grave hating Stanton. But through the power of love Abraham Lincoln was able to redeem Stanton.

That’s it. There is a power in love that our world has not discovered yet. Jesus discovered it centuries ago. Mahatma Gandhi of India discovered it a few years ago, but most men and most women never discover it. For they believe in hitting for hitting; they believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; they believe in hating for hating; but Jesus comes to us and says, “This isn’t the way.”

And oh this morning, as I think of the fact that our world is in transition now. Our whole world is facing a revolution. Our nation is facing a revolution, our nation. One of the things that concerns me most is that in the midst of the revolution of the world and the midst of the revolution of this nation, that we will discover the meaning of Jesus’ words.

History unfortunately leaves some people oppressed and some people oppressors. And there are three ways that individuals who are oppressed can deal with their oppression. One of them is to rise up against their oppressors with physical violence and corroding hatred. But oh this isn’t the way. For the danger and the weakness of this method is its futility. Violence creates many more social problems than it solves. And I’ve said, in so many instances, that as the Negro, in particular, and colored peoples all over the world struggle for freedom, if they succumb to the temptation of using violence in their struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and our chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. Violence isn’t the way.

Another way is to acquiesce and to give in, to resign yourself to the oppression. Some people do that. They discover the difficulties of the wilderness moving into the promised land, and they would rather go back to the despots of Egypt because it’s difficult to get in the promised land. And so they resign themselves to the fate of oppression; they somehow acquiesce to this thing. But that too isn’t the way because non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.

But there is another way. And that is to organize mass non-violent resistance based on the principle of love. It seems to me that this is the only way as our eyes look to the future. As we look out across the years and across the generations, let us develop and move right here. We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that we will be able to make of this old world a new world. We will be able to make men better. Love is the only way.  Jesus discovered that.

Not only did Jesus discover it, even great military leaders discover that. One day as Napoleon came toward the end of his career and looked back across the years—the great Napoleon that at a very early age had all but conquered the world. He was not stopped until he became, till he moved out to the battle of Leipzig and then to Waterloo. But that same Napoleon one day stood back and looked across the years, and said:

“Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have built great empires. But upon what did they depend? They depended upon force. But long ago Jesus started an empire that depended on love, and even to this day millions will die for him.”

Yes, I can see Jesus walking around the hills and the valleys of Palestine. And I can see him looking out at the Roman Empire with all of her fascinating and intricate military machinery. But in the midst of that, I can hear him saying: “I will not use this method. Neither will I hate the Roman Empire.” [Radio Announcer:] (WRMA, Montgomery, Alabama. Due to the fact of the delay this morning, we are going over with the sermon.) [several words inaudible]… and just start marching.

And I’m proud to stand here in Dexter this morning and say that that army is still marching. It grew up from a group of eleven or twelve men to more than seven hundred million today. Because of the power and influence of the personality of this Christ, he was able to split history into a.d. and b.c. Because of his power, he was able to shake the hinges from the gates of the Roman Empire. And all around the world this morning, we can hear the glad echo of heaven ring:

Jesus shall reign wherever sun,
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom spreads from shore to shore,
Till moon shall wane and wax no more.

We can hear another chorus singing:
“All hail the power of Jesus name!”

We can hear another chorus singing:
“Hallelujah, hallelujah!
He’s King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Hallelujah, hallelujah!”

We can hear another choir singing:
In Christ there is no East or West.
In Him no North or South,
But one great Fellowship of Love
Throughout the whole wide world.

This is the only way.

And our civilization must discover that. Individuals must discover that as they deal with other individuals. There is a little tree planted on a little hill and on that tree hangs the most influential character that ever came in this world. But never feel that that tree is a meaningless drama that took place on the stages of history. Oh no, it is a telescope through which we look out into the long vista of eternity, and see the love of God breaking forth into time. It is an eternal reminder to a power-drunk generation that love is the only way. It is an eternal reminder to a generation depending on nuclear and atomic energy, a generation depending on physical violence, that love is the only creative, redemptive, transforming power in the universe.

So this morning, as I look into your eyes, and into the eyes of all of my brothers in Alabama and all over America and over the world, I say to you, “I love you. I would rather die than hate you.” And I’m foolish enough to believe that through the power of this love somewhere, men of the most recalcitrant bent will be transformed. And then we will be in God’s kingdom. We will be able to matriculate into the university of eternal life because we had the power to love our enemies, to bless those persons that cursed us, to even decide to be good to those persons who hated us, and we even prayed for those persons who despitefully used us.

Oh God, help us in our lives and in all of our attitudes, to work out this controlling force of love, this controlling power that can solve every problem that we confront in all areas. Oh, we talk about politics; we talk about the problems facing our atomic civilization. Grant that all men will come together and discover that as we solve the crisis and solve these problems—the international problems, the problems of atomic energy, the problems of nuclear energy, and yes, even the race problem—let us join together in a great fellowship of love and bow down at the feet of Jesus. Give us this strong determination. In the name and spirit of this Christ, we pray. Amen.

****

There is something transforming, profound in Dr. King’s sermon on Love. Anyone, with an open mind and an open heart, can find something to embrace, regardless of how small or monumental, that cultivates love within their life and within the world. The message I receive from Dr. King’s speech concretes my belief that Humanity is one and only race and Love was, is and forever will be, the core of that essence. Each and every one of us is made of Love. Therefore, if Love is of you, and Love is of me, then we are one … regardless if we are friend or foe, alike.

Namaste
I honor the Spirit in you
which also is in me.