As many of you know, especially if you have been following the Mindfulness Movement journey, mindfulness is a meditation method in which one focuses on being present and aware of their emotions and feelings in the current moment. The mindfulness practice includes nine components; non-judging, acceptance, patience, a beginner's mind, trust, non-striving, letting go, generosity, and gratitude. These are principles in which Dr. King used to bring to fruition his dream of a more equitable place, and from that, we can learn how to further use our voices to be champions of compassion, love, and inclusion.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
This quote is likely one that you have seen several times already but today, it means more to me than it has in the past. We live in a time of social unrest and many of us are still fighting for basic equalities. This message serves as a reminder to cultivate a world of compassion and understanding through mindfulness and love. Though we all have many differences, this message encourages us to realize that we are more similar than we differ, and because of that, we should treat each other with respect and care; further instilling principles of mindfulness. When examining closely, students of mindfulness also learn that Dr. King was deeply rooted in mindfulness practices as he displayed nonviolence, immense body awareness, and a practice of peace:
Dr. King's 1958 Stride Toward Freedom articulated the Six Principles of Nonviolence indicating that nonviolence "accepts suffering without retaliation". These principles were often used in peaceful. organized protests, and encourage individuals to not respond to violence with violence.
The Six Principles of Nonviolence indirectly taught students of color and their allies body awareness. Prior to joining protests and sit-ins, students practiced how not to respond in accordance with their fight or flight senses. Instead of acting, students learned to recognize the sensations within their bodies, process those feelings and emotions without judgement, and connect with those feelings and emotions without allowing them to take over. Students were asked to turn inward to realize their emotions, and instead of retaliating, mobilize resources and prepare to act responsibly in support of social change.
Dr. King dreamt of a world of peace. His mission was to promote positive change to a world, not through war and violence, but through peace.
Today, we will honor Dr. King by connecting with kindness through meditation and affirmation.
For a moment, come to a position of seated awareness. This position is indicative of your attention and should feel comfortable to you. You may keep your eyes open or you may close them. Take three loving breaths (inhale and exhale deeply). Bring attention to the sensations that your body is feeling. Though it doesn't always feel like progress is being made or has been made, take a moment to imagine what a world of change looks like for you. When you are ready, repeat these words:
I live in a place of safety.
I live peacefully.
Joy is not foreign to me.
I am surrounded by love.
I feel included.
I am at peace.
I am completely free of worry.
I am mentally, physically, and emotionally strong.
My dreams are real.
My dreams are possible.
My dreams are being realized at this very moment.
Like Martin, my dreams will create positive change for my generation and generations to come.