July 5
All are caught in an inescapable network
of mutuality, tied in a single garment of
destiny.  Whatever affects one directly,
affects all indirectly.  I can never be what
I ought to be until you are what you ought
to be, and you can never be what you ought
to be until I am what I ought to be.

Martin Luther King, Jr.


Today's Meditation:

Oh, boy.  These words, of course, are completely true, but they do come with a mandate for each one of us:  help others become what they ought to be, and keep working at becoming all that we as individuals ought to be.  There's a great deal of responsibility tied up in these ideas, all brought about by the fact that we are unified as human beings, and not separate at all.  We like to look at ourselves as separate because it relieves us of the responsibility in our own minds, but the fact is that we all are completely tied together.

We learn that we are separate from others very early in life.  We learn that we are not our brothers' and sisters' keepers, and we even learn that life is a competition, and that the very people with whom we should be working towards better lives for all are people who are our enemies, or our competitors.  We don't value cooperation when we're so focused on competing.

It's only when we accept this mutuality of which Martin writes that we can truly begin to become what we ought to be.  Because what we ought to be is a strong contributor to the single garment--the tapestry of life should have many threads contributed by each of us, but if we don't see the unity in the process, we may even see ourselves as not even needing to contribute.  But that's a misconception that can be very damaging to us, and if we damage ourselves, we damage everyone.

What affects you, affects me.  What affects the cashier at the supermarket affects the woman who's buying milk.  What affects the teller at the bank affects his co-workers and the customers who come to his window.  We need to be ready and willing to accept our unity if we're going to contribute strong, healthy, beautiful threads to the "single garment of destiny."

Questions to consider:

How are you connected to each of the people with whom you make contact each day?  How are you connected to those with whom you don't make contact?

What does "unity" mean to you?

How can you go about becoming the person you ought to be?  How can you help others to do so? 

For further thought:

We cannot live only for ourselves.
A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow humans.

Herman Melville


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