“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
Along those lines, I read this great piece from the spiritual teacher and mystic Anthony de Mello today. It seems a fitting thing to share today, a tribute to Dr. King’s vision and work. He writes in his book Awareness:
“For instance, I’m an Indian. Now, let’s suppose that I’m a prisoner of war in Pakistan, and they say to me, “Well, today we’re going to take you to the frontier, and you’re going to take a look at your country.” So they bring me to the frontier, and I look across the border, and I think, “Oh, my country, my beautiful country. I see villages and trees and hills. This is my own, my native land!” After a while one of the guards says, “Excuse me, we’ve made a mistake here. We have to move up another ten miles.” What was I reacting to? Nothing. I kept focusing on a word, India. But trees are not India; trees are trees. In fact, there are no frontiers or boundaries. They were put there by the human mind; generally by stupid, avaricious politicians. My country was one country once upon a time; it’s four now. If we don’t watch out it might be six. Then we’ll have six flags, six armies. That’s why you’ll never catch me saluting a flag. I abhor all national flags because they are idols. What are we saluting? I salute humanity, not a flag with an army around it.”
Amen. May we all rise above the narrow confines of our varied nationalistic concerns so that we care equally for the broader concerns of all humanity. Until then, per Dr. King, perhaps we aren’t really living.