How can we even begin to speak of peace? Where is the love that will heal hatred?
These questions are always close to me—intoned constantly by my inner voice as I unceasingly quest within for the fire of love that will overcome darkness. Where is the answer?
Yesterday, a friend and I ambled along the Tidal Basin of the Potomac River in Washington, DC, the site of thousands of cherry trees, all with their flowers at peak bloom. Many of the trees were a gift in 1912 from the People of Japan to the People of the United States.
Weaving our way on and off the sidewalk filled with tourists like us, we finally emerged from underneath the dappled canopy that slightly trembled in tones of white to dark pink, to stand before the power and presence of Martin Luther King, Jr. His form emerged out of a towering mountain of luminous whitish-pink granite, as if the stone was mirroring the blossoms. With arms crossed, King held, tucked under his right arm, a rolled up paper, invoking his famous "Letters from the Birmingham Jail" written in 1963 in the margins of a newspaper.
Of the handful of famous quotes from King carved into the grey-brown walls curving capaciously like a half moon behind the statue, as if mirroring, too, the questions upon my heart, this one jumped out at me: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
What is this love of which he speaks?
I am moved as I write this to answer from my own heart: it is a profoundly compassionate presence arising from the very body of Mother Earth and from the divine force of the Spirit infusing All That Is. It is a power that, when we tune into it with conscious awareness and call it in, we feel it as a vibrating, expansive, loving, and healing energy. Before it, all inner and outer conflict is transmuted. This force—which another great peacemaker, Gandhi, called satyagraha—can magically cause a potential murderer to lay down his gun or an army to cease firing.
I myself call it “medicine” because that is what it is when called up or spontaneously arising. I feel it when I do healing work with a client or when I am engaging in ceremony. It is transformational, potent and eternal. This medicine is never destroyed; we only fall into forgetfulness about its presence. Everyone has access to it, for it flows within, through and around everything like a sweet elixir. It is the source of life and thus a wellspring of unconditional love—a love that heals the heart and mind, breaks down barriers between enemies, and inexorably moves through time and space to bring resolution to confusion, hatred, anger, and fear.
It is in every act of friendship, comity, community, and peace. So, though Japan and the US became mortal enemies during World War II, even after being allies during World War I, those cherry trees were, all the while, holding the vibrational frequency of this medicine of love, renewal and optimism.
When King spoke of this love, he was a pure channel of the real God—that indestructible light that calls us back out of fear. This is why he was able to shine a light into the injustice of racial segregation and hatred. This medicine naturally awakens the core moral conscience in the heart of every human being that ever and always reaches for equality and justice.
There in the stone and engraved words in King’s memorial, if you become silent and open your consciousness, you can feel this medicine—the love that always conquers hatred.
Even as I write these words, I am grateful to King, to the sculptor, Lei Yixin, to the Japanese people, and to the cherry blossoms for how they helped me return to this wisdom inscribed in my own heart.
And how wonderful that Lei is Chinese! Even as conflict brews right now between the United States and his home nation, the collaboration of the artist, the people of the US, and those who helped make the memorial what it is, has forged yet another gift of this medicine. Like the cherry blossoms, it will also inexorably conquer hatred through time.
Yes, a Great Peace will yet come…again. Aho, Wadogh, May it Be So!
To read more about the Tidal Basin Cherry Trees, click here.
To read more about the King Memorial, click here.