3 Powerful Lessons From Dr. Martin Luther King to Master the Art of Living

MLK-Memorial-dt_30366252Have you seen the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial on the National mall? The 30 foot high monument shows Dr. King with his arms crossed standing just outside the confines of a huge pillar of rough cut stone.

The design was inspired by a line from his famous ‘I Have a Dream’’ speech in 1963: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

As we thought about that powerful sentence, we remembered an incident in Dr. King’s life when he was confronted by an angry detractor during one of Dr. King’s rallies.

The man walked up to Dr. King and spat in his face. The Reverend sighed and hesitated for only a moment before he took out his kerchief and wiped the spittle off his face.

Then in a voice filled with compassion he handed the soiled kerchief to the man and said, “I believe this belongs to you.”

It was a magic moment. It was a ‘monument of a moment’ that said, “I believe your anger, your hatred, your false assumptions, your resentment belong to you.  Your fear and your disrespect belong to you. I behold only the Christ as you.”

It was one of many moments that defined Dr. King’s ministry. And it’s moments like these that define our truth walks too! Actually, these kinds of moments present themselves to us every day.

They are moments when the illusionary power of outer appearances spits in our face as if to say:

“There, take that. You’re not good enough, or smart enough, or good looking enough to deserve that.”

“You don’t have the money to do that, or the education to do that.”

“There are people doing that already. You can’t compete.”

“You’re never going to amount to much.”

“You must have done something to deserve that. God’s punishing you.”

You don’t have to own any of that ‘spit.’ Like Dr. King, you can wipe it out of  your consciousness. Simply consider the source and refuse to give power to error and falsehood.

The Truth is your happiness and wellbeing do not depend on what happens to you. They are the result of how you respond to what happens to you. You can remain impervious to the shocks life gives you.

An Example From the Woodpecker

Woodpecker-ca34791238For example, a woodpecker’s head is amazingly shock-proof. It’s well-adapted for the kind of shock that comes from sudden impacts. These incredible creatures strike trees over twenty times per second, with a force of 1, 200 g’s. And what’s more they manage to fly away without brain damage, or a headache, or seeing double.

Studies have shown that woodpeckers are equipped with over-sized beaks that are elastic and pliable, making it possible for them to absorb most of the impact. Their beaks also connect to spongy bone material that absorbs even more of the shock.

The next layer of ‘brain shield’ is harder bone. Finally, the hyoid (a tendon-like filament) encases the woodpecker’s skull and drains off more vibration while supporting the bird’s tongue and throat.

Researchers are doing their best to imitate the woodpecker’s extraordinary features. Product engineers surround devices like diodes and capacitors (both components found in electronic circuits) with a layer of closely-packed glass beads to mimic the woodpecker’s spongy bone ‘technology.’

Diodes and capacitors are coated with three protective layers: a metal layer, a tendon-like layer (styled after the woodpecker’s hyoid), and another layer of metal to protect sensitive electronics from shock.

As spiritual beings who have chosen this shocking human experience, our three protective layers are Mind, Idea, and Expression.  In Unity theology, they are the three ingredients in Divine Order.

As we have just learned, woodpeckers are built for shock. They’re hardheaded – but so are we. Do you know anyone who is hardheaded?

Just like our friends the woodpeckers, we have built-in shock absorbers:

    • Truth principles are shock absorbers.
    • Our openness to deeper truths and higher spiritual principles is a shock absorber.
    • Prayer and meditation are premium shock absorbers.
    • Forgiveness is an unfailing shock deflector.
    • Our willingness to sidestep slights and gossip is a shock absorber.
    • Reading positive, growth-focused blogs are shock absorbers.
    • Accepting a hug is a wonderful shock absorber.

We can wipe the ‘spit’ of disappointment off,  the ‘spit’ of the physical challenges of an illness off, the ‘spit’ of fear associated with financial concerns off, and the ‘spit’ of guilt that comes from a bad decision off — by saying: “Outer appearances, I believe this belongs to you. You have no place in my consciousness.”

mountaintop-victory-ca37900401Imagine being free of the inner turmoil of harboring hurt about what someone else did or said to you! Imagine the incredible joy of knowing exactly who you are — God expressing — and never again needing to carry the weight of guilt dumped on you by other people! Imagine the unbelievable exhilaration of following your dreams, standing in Truth and living life at your absolute highest, most elevated level of consciousness!

This can all be your experience — when you learn the art of saying — and believing in — those powerful words: “I believe this belongs to you.”

We are not advocating that you actually say these words aloud to everyone who seems to be a “crazy-maker” in your life. That could get you in trouble! The key is to adopt an “I believe this belongs to you” mindset that allows you to respond to situations without judgment, defensiveness, or anger.

Three Powerful Take-Aways To Master the Art of Living

TakeActionHere are three specific examples of what this could look like in your day-to-day experience:

Talk to Yourself: Have you ever noticed how you could be having a great day, feeling connected and peaceful … and all of a sudden someone invades your space with his/her negativity and bad attitude? Or how about in a meeting – how one negative person can suck the energy right out of the room? Why do we give this kind of power to other people? With the right mindset, we can take charge.

Here’s a mental conversation you can have with yourself! When you notice yourself reacting and buying in to another person’s bad attitude, say to yourself: “I refuse to allow your bad attitude to steal my joy! I will not let your attitude affect my attitude! I claim peace! I claim joy!” In other words, what you’re actually saying is: “Your bad attitude –your negativity – belongs to you!”

Don’t be derailed by personal criticisms and attacks: Here’s something we find really amazing! Most people are so quick to deflect positive compliments, yet equally quick to totally own anything negative! We’ve agreed to tell a story on Cher that involves deflected positivity. Here’s what happened in her own words:

“When I read the evaluations from a workshop of 500 people in the group, I skimmed  right through the 499 glowing responses, and zeroed in on the one person who wasn’t happy, and gave that comment 100 times more power than the other 499 that were over-the-top positive!”

Why do we do this to ourselves? Instead—when someone says something negative, first hear it non-defensively; then search for any truth in the criticism. Is there anything here I can own? With everything else, especially hurtful comments, simply affirm “I think this belongs to you!”

Pay attention to your stories: What stories are you carrying around, allowing them to grow in their dramatic impact with every telling? What are you blaming others for? What stories about the world are you believing? Guess what? These stories are holding your spirit down, impacting your spiritual growth and the inner peace and joy that is yours by right of consciousness. You can literally say to your human self, your ego thoughts, and the world of outer appearances: “I believe this belongs to you!”

At one of our Unity movement conferences, we heard singer Ester Nicholson sing an amazing song, written by Jan Garrett, J.D. Martin, and Ester Nicholson. It is about the story we shared as we introduced this blogcast. We feel it is so appropriate for our message that we’ve included a link to her song on YouTube. It sums up our message today and wonderfully affirms the practical application of the concept: I Believe This Belongs to You. We hope you’ll take a few minutes to enjoy Ester’s beautiful voice and incredible message.


About Bil and Cher Holton - The Global Center for Spiritual Practices

Combine a flair for the dramatic, a deep understanding of metaphysics combined with the teachings of Jesus, and a zest for neuroscience and Positive Psychology, and you have defined the dynamic duo who are at the heart of The Global Center for Spiritual Practices, a Cyber Home for people who are more spiritual than religious. Revs. Drs. Bil and Cher Holton bring quite a background of experience and depth of knowledge to this special ministry. They are dynamic and thought-provoking speakers, prolific authors, and spiritual teachers. Check them out at http://www.YourSpiritualPractice.com/
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5 Responses to 3 Powerful Lessons From Dr. Martin Luther King to Master the Art of Living

  1. Pingback: Soar | Wayfarer

  2. Rev. Meghan Smith Brooks says:

    FYI – Ester Nicholson did not write the song “I Believe It Belongs To You”, it was written by Jan Garrett, amazing singer, song writer & recording artist with her husband J.D. Martin. Please give Jan the credit she deserves!


    • Rev. Meghan Smith Brooks says:

      …I want to correct my comment, after checking back with my friend Jan Garrett, she and J.D. co-wrote this song with Ester Nicholson and they have each recorded it on separate albums. So Jan and J.D. do deserve credit, along with Ester!


    • We have researched this and discovered Ester wrote it in conjunction with Jan and J.D. — we have updated the content to reflect this, and apologize for the oversight! Thanks for bringing it to our attention!


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