Monday, January 16, 2012

King Day: On Having To Think

Day 16 of Your Year to Wellness
Thinking sets you Free

“Who doubts that this toughness of mind is one of man’s greatest needs? Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When you go to The Year to Wellness website you will see this quote from Dr. King. As I started out on my path towards wellness, I used this quote and the concept of solid thinking as a guide. On this day commemorating the life of Dr. King here in the United States, we talk about his service, dedication to Civil rights and his stance as a pacifist but rarely do we remark on Dr. King the thinker. King skipped both the ninth and twelfth grades and entered college at age 15. He earned a degree in sociology (you know I love that) and questioned everything, including the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Which as you can imagine caused quite a stir in his Sunday school.) Dr. King was already a pastor, husband and father when at the age of 25 he began work on his doctoral degree in divinity and completed it at age 26. When you look at a copy of the Letter From A Birmingham Jail in which Dr. King responds to the eight Alabama clergymen who felt that injustice should be fought solely in the courts and not in the streets with marches and protests, you will see that Dr. King pulled quotes and references from his heart and head and argued his points with sound logic and what he called “rigorous thinking.” But what does the work of Dr. King have to do with your wellness; everything. Having to think is what keeps too many in bondage. We blame others, fall back on old behavior and as Dr. King points out, we look for “easy answers and half-baked solutions.” The road to wellness requires critical thinking. It demands that we search for ideas from diverse sources and actually try them, even when they collide with our previous world view.

I grew up learning to pray but meditation became a part of my wellness practice. When I suggest meditation to some, I am often rebuked in the name of Jesus for suggesting something that is out of the scope of their vision. When I have suggested working on your own self I have been bombarded with song lyrics which tell me to lean on the Lord.

We all need to trust and believe, but when we look for easy answers and half-baked solutions, we are signing up for a life of bondage. If we are to be free, we must think and then think some more. The letter from a Birmingham jail is written by a man who was in the custody of the jailer, but in his thinking he is freer than President Johnson.

Wellness requires thought and then thinking some more. There will be no pill or potion for making you whole, you must think.

·         Make a list of all of the things you’d like to improve in yourself. Sit and meditate on what it would feel like and look like. Now think about what you can do today to achieve this.

·         This is a day of service, after you serve your community, think about the service you need to do for yourself.

·         Read the Letter from a Birmingham Jail and then write a letter appealing to you. (Letter)

·         Create a thinking exercise to start your day. How can you learn something new each morning?

·         Share something you’ve learned with someone you love. A good idea is only great when it is shared with someone else.

Freedom starts with our thinking. Set yourself free.

Be You, Be Free, Be a Thinker

Bertice Berry, PhD

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