Haaretz broke a story on the American holiday of Martin Luther King, Jr Day, speculating as to why Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. never visited Israel. In hindsight, I look at this as a lost opportunity for leaving an impact on future generations. Dr. King did travel to Berlin in September of 1964 and gave speeches to audiences in both West and East Berlin and stated that God knows such Berlin Wall divides Thirty years later, many of the East Germans who had listened to his words became peace activists to help bring that Wall down. Children are now playing in areas that were once killing zones.
Based on the present conditions of the peace talks, with so much negativity, I believe that had Dr. King lived to celebrate his 85th birthday, he would have been the perfect negotiator to bring peace to the Middle East. He would be addressing audiences in Jerusalem, in Gaza, in Ramallah, he would be talking about the possibilities for rising and occupying the Dream. He would be reminding the Zionists of their deep spiritual roots, and their responsibility for drilling and sharing the spiritual Light, as Light onto the Nations, in sharp contrast to the way others drill and hoard oil. To the Palestinians he would have asked for a bit of patience, that the Children of Israel were not actually their enemies, but future spiritual community gardeners. Just as in Berlin where geo-political killing zone barriers once existed, geo-spiritual community gardens would spring up. I can imagine him giving this kind of vision:
I have a dream that one day Jewish children and Palestinian children would weed out hate together and plant their hopes together in sunflower fields of dreams. They would take solidarity in their deeply rooted spiritual illumination and not in the skin deep hateful inclinations of their mothers and fathers.
The audiences listening to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would sense his passion as well as his connection to God and would have given this kind of peace a chance, So many of us have forgotten about that Ohr in Torah and its almost magical qualities to weed out hate in people’s hearts.
Oh how I wish he would have lived to celebrate his 85th birthday last week. Then, I could have shared with him the full depth and power of his Mountain Top and Promised Land rhetoric, illuminated in the deepest roots of kabbalah. He and I would have shared stories about our grandmother’s love for rose gardening and how significant the rose was in Jewish spirituality.
As the eldest grandson of the inventor of a horticultural tool for root feeding the deepest roots of trees and shrubs, and having worked in the family business for several years, I became curious to probe the full nature of my cultural, ecological, and Jewish spiritual roots. I researched verses in the New Testament dealing with weeds and seeds (Matthew 13, 24-30 and 36-38), the African American contribution to the American gardening culture, Michelle Obama’s Victory Kitchen Garden, and even guerilla gardening. I learned about Dr. King’s affinity for roses that he had acquired from his grandmother, as well as the MLK, Jr. World Peace Rose Garden. I am convinced that somewhere down deep within his soul, he felt the Zohar sensations of the Rose Among the Thorns.
Every time a gardener illuminates root connections, as if root feeding a tree, picks out stony hearts from the garden, smokes out arrogance, as if smoking out worms from apples, prunes back prejudice as if pruning a branch, roots out weeds as if they were hate, this gardener drills for Light and unclogs spiritual roots. After all of this analysis, I wish to make the following critical analysis:
We can no longer afford to settle the ethics of our mothers and fathers and stand our ground for the sole purpose our without the soul intention of illuminate the deepest spiritual roots of these ethics. A shallow rooted ethic is a tightly woven geo-political fabric that only keeps inner weed forces dormant, waiting for the first cracks for virulent weeds to pierce through. As long as trickle-down religious, political and economic fundamentalists insulate themselves by propagating fear, hatred and violence in others, there will always be hate. Nowadays, the media and internet glorify this fallacy. A spiritually illuminated ethic, is one that helps weed out hate, freeing our souls to rise to new heights; the geo-spiritual fabric of peace.
Whereas the fundamentalists insight us to weed out each other, we must remain firm in our resolve to weed out hate. The physical act of rooting out a single weed with this intention is the strongest kind of prayer for igniting the Light that yields life, liberty, and happiness throughout our souls and beyond. Weeding out hate is a non-violent form of spiritual guerilla gardening.
‘What began as a simple esoteric rhetorical analysis of the Wisdom of Kabbalah with gardening, quickly developed into a highly charged spiritual gardening manifesto for transforming hearts and souls back to the Garden of Eden, the spiritual state in which the very act of giving, would surge life throughout the matrix. In one of the concluding chapters, I portrayed a not so mythical globally televised White House call to action in which two billion children would be called upon to weed out hate. This would be become the ultimate act of spiritual guerilla gardening.
In August of 2010, I put these ideas into action by starting the Weed Out Hate Initiative. In the same way that my grandfather’s root feeder irrigated the roots of trees, this concept helps children connect with their deepest cultural and spiritual roots. Children are inspired to relate weeding the garden to rooting out inner weeds and then replenishing the earth with special sunflower seeds of peace. Freed from these limitations, spirits can bloom. To date more than 50,000 packs of Sunflower Peace Seeds have been planted with an equal amount of weeds extracted. To commemorate the 44th anniversary of Dr. King’s prophetic Mountain Top Speech, I travelled to Atlanta, GA and held a special ceremony at the Martin Luther King World Peace Rose Gardens.
When I think back on the missed opportunity of Dr. King not visiting Israel back in the early 1960’s, a lot of weeds would need to be pulled and a lot of seeds sown to make a difference in the dynamic. A great beginning would be a symbolic Weed Out Hate moment in which President Obama, together with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas would extract the first weed out hatred together, This just might help ignite the Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for Peace.