I was just a few months old when, in April 1968, Martin Luther King Jnr was killed.
Growing up in a relatively small town in South Wales, a significantly white, working class environment, I had no exposure to him or his work until my teens. I remember going home from school and, I suppose in thrall to his ethos and work, was talking about it while laying the table for tea (that’s what we called dinner or supper). My mum, clearly having a tricky day, just couldn’t take it all in while fixing food for our family of five, and told me to stop. I remember it very vividly.
I guess I shut it out of my consciousness then but, every now and again, I find myself drawn back. Now is such a time.
One of his more famous quotes has been reverberating around my consciousness in recent months which, in the past day or so, has reached such a crescendo that I feel the need to write about it.
‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.’
Each of us will have our own interpretation about exactly what he meant, but for me it is a clear instruction. If you want to overcome the energy of hate, anger or fear – I think of these as shadow energies/darkness – then the only way to do that is to work with love. For me, this is light.
There is a lot of fear, anger and confusion surging around at the moment. It is within each of us and therefore perpetuating around us. If we are to tackle the presence of hatred and fear, then we must first look to ourselves. It has to begin with us. And we must operate all the more with love.
Firstly, we must treat ourselves with loving care and respect.
If you are unable to do so, look to the reasons why and work out a plan or a route to overcome that. Keep searching for the right way for you and don’t stop until you find that you can. With your intention, with determination, you will do it. I don’t write this as if I have totally mastered it myself, but as someone who has been on a long journey towards self-acceptance – we are all work in progress.
As we work on raising our own light levels, we automatically have an impact on what is around us. Esoteric philosopher Hermes Trismegistus said, ‘As above, so below; as within, so without’. What we impact within us, we impact outside of and around us.
In the past I have felt myself powerless at the bottom of a hole surrounded by numerous challenges. I know now that as soon as I started seeking a way out and feeling a bit lighter in myself, then those other troubles quickly began to drop away. Perhaps you have experienced something like this too?
And so to another great teacher of love and of the power of love for change, Mahatma Gandhi. In almost the same vein as King, he said, ‘hatred can be overcome only by love.’
If you are feeling angry or fearful right now, I can see and understand that – we are in interesting and challenging times.
My invitation to you is to join me in considering the wisdom of these and more contemporary teachers, such as Marianne Williamson.
Where you can, speak with care and with love. Where you can, behave with care and with love. If you feel the need to act, then do so, but not in fear, anger and hatred of those who aren’t working for the greater good but with enough love to overcome the shadow that they are casting.
Be the leader of your own crusade for love. Impact with love on those immediately around you, and those beyond who you can also reach. But always begin with you. You are key. Each one of us is.
Be love. Shine your light.
You are magnificent.