‘I Have a Dream’ — What’s Yours?

by Millie Grenough
Photo Credit: Plum Village

Martin Luther King + Thich Nhat Hanh. When you look at the faces of these two men, what do you see? – Same? Different?

Baptist minister from southern USA. Buddhist monk from Vietnam. The minister nominated the monk for the Nobel Peace Prize. King’s physical presence: gone now. The monk: slowly recovering from a massive stroke. Both dreamers. Both men of action.

What’s my dream? How do their dreams impact me?

As an 8-year-old, I went from my Kentucky home to visit my Aunt Angie in Tennessee. I remember Angie hollering at me for going into the “colored” part of the city bus. She lived in Memphis, the city where the minister was killed.

A near-death accident brought me face-to-face with the monk. The summer after my accident I spent a week of recuperation at Omega Institute with him. That was 28 years ago. His simple, strong wisdom continues to ground me, energize me, give me an oasis of clarity in the overwhelm of my daily challenges.

When I’m frazzled, discouraged, angry, whatever, I can hear his simple message…

Don’t blame myself. Don’t blame anyone else. Just notice what I’m noticing. Get here. Breathe. Allow space, room to see the big picture, my connectedness with everything. See it as clearly as I can.

Call it mindfulness, meditation, presence, interbeing — whatever. Doesn’t matter. I just need to remember to do it. Minute by minute. Again and again. And trust that it will lead me to the next right action.

What’s your challenge? Your dream? How can you nurture it?

Two days ago I came upon the conversation of Oprah with Thich Nhat Hanh. The two of them talked about big world problems, and “little” family/friend problems. Their faces and their conversation heartened me. It may do something for you, too.