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The Power of “Going Apart”— Lessons from Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.


The anniversary of the deaths of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—the 64 days between January 30th and April 4th—is A Season of Nonviolence. This annual campaign aims to elevate awareness of the philosophy of attaining peace through nonviolent action, as demonstrated by these legendary leaders. With the conflicts in our world today—within countries and between them—such a philosophy is desperately needed.


Gandhi and King had great work ethics, and their lives were not easy by any stretch of the imagination. There is one practice each of them had in common that we can use in our lives. That practice is taking time to go apart to recharge, giving them greater focus and clarity for their work.


Gandhi once stated, “I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.” Within that quote lies the key to success for any endeavor. That key is taking time to break away from the external noise regularly and to meditate, pray, or rest.


The Book of Genesis states that after God finished creating the earth, he rested on the seventh day. Of course, the writers of this story did not intend for this story to be literal. The idea that an omnipotent Force created the world in seven days and, on the seventh day, was so tired he had to take a break is bizarre.

The creation story symbolizes the creative process. The number seven represents a process of completion. The seventh day, known as the Sabbath, is when all personal efforts cease, and we rest in a state of being. In this state, we recognize that it is not the "doing” that is important but allowing the Spirit to do the work. In this state, we release ourselves from all belief in our efforts and rest in the awareness that "the [spirit] abiding in me doeth [the] work" (John 14:10). This is an essential part of any endeavor—to rest in the Spirit.


This principle has a practical application in our lives. A natural life cycle includes alternating between engaging in outer effort and resting in the consciousness of God or The Force, as I prefer to call it. There comes a time that we must rest from mere doing and allow the Spirit to do the work. When we rest in The Force, we have the backing of the entire universe behind us. We receive guidance from taking the next step; we can see how the parts are coming together and get spiritual insight to know the solution to what appears to be a problem.


Taking periodic respites and engaging in prayer and meditation during our times of effort yields excellent benefits in the outer efforts. When we take regular pauses and essential breaks throughout our day, we find that we exert less and less human effort and get more positive results.

It all starts by following the admonition of, "Be still and know that I am God in the midst of you." We can do this by taking periodic pauses of a half-minute every half hour, and essential breaks of two or three minutes several times throughout the day. Such pauses and breaks will help renew us, revitalize us, and allow the all-powerful Spirit to enter and run our lives.


As we go through A Season for Nonviolence, let it serve as a reminder that we need not wait for our days off or take an official vacation to benefit from the power of the Sabbath, or go apart. We can get the benefits of the Sabbath every day.


Peace & Blessings,

James

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