MLK: A Yogi in Principles
Monday was Martin Luther King Jr Day in the US. As a Canadian I admittedly know little about this great man so I thought I'd read up on him.
What I found were teachings of a soul that truly understands what it is to be human - his speech so eloquent and layered as to create both awe and empowerment. A gift for prose that mirrors that of Obama yet speaks even more directly to our most basic understandings. A man that lived the principles of Patajali's original Yoga Sutras, in effect becoming one of the greatest yogi's of our time.
Much like the great souls that preceded him - Ghandi coming clearly to mind for their common understanding of the power of ahisma (non-violence) - MLK was able to tailor his teachings to the hearts of the audience of the day. In my opinion, that gift of communicating on a heart to heart level with a great percentage of society, combined with the gift of deeper knowing, is what transforms human to prophet. Not yet 50 years since his passing his canonization (for lack of a better, non-faith-specific, word) has already begun in earnest.
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr, below is brief selection of some of his most powerful quotes, as relevant today as the day they were spoken:
On his learnings from Gandhi: "Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity. In a real sense, Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation."
On making decisions Conscientiously : “On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" And Vanity comes along and asks the question, "Is it popular?" But Conscience asks the question "Is it right?" And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.”
On being human: “We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
On the power of people standing up for what they believe in: “The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.”
On the meaning of life: "Life's most persistent and urgent question: what are you doing for others?"
If there is someone out there that's lived in the past 100 years who you'd consider a prophet, who is it?