Martin Luther King Jr. was a powerful voice for compassion. He was a bold example of loving-kindness in action. To him, unconditional love was not passive acceptance, but a moral imperative to act—to speak out and stand up for those without a voice.
MLK’s message of tolerance centered around the idea of nonviolence. It’s not enough to avoid physical violence—one must avoid emotional violence as well. MLK once said: “You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.” At the heart of this message is love:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.”
Let’s carry his message into the world every day by cultivating compassion through mindfulness.
Here’s a loving-kindness practice from developmental behavioral specialist and mindfulness author Mark Bertin, MD, that can help us extend compassion to ourselves, those around us, and the larger world.
Notice how you’re feeling while letting go of striving or effort to feel otherwise,” Bertin advises during the practice. “You cannot force yourself to feel relaxed, nonjudgmental, or anything else in particular. Let yourself simply feel whatever you feel.”