We had the good fortune of connecting with Louie T. McClain II and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Louie T., we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
“Spiritual meditation is the pathway to divinity” it begins, and the reader is soon to find himself in tears by the end of this essential guide for obtaining peace. In the midst of using all of my creative ability to help others find the #iAM in themselves, I realized that I still had not come to peace with who I was myself. My Life Coach T Hutton The Motivator would ask me again and again, “Louie! Who are you!?” After spouting off business titles and various other roles I play in life, I still could not give a clear answer. It was equally ironic as it was profound because I had been a gang member in my early journey.

When I went to college I became a born-again Christian and started “soul winning” in the downtown streets of Pensacola. After graduation, I became a leader in juvenile justice, but then after seven years I lost my job. I became unemployed, I was lost, I started a non-profit, I failed in business, and now I am in Corporate America during furlough season due to the covid-19 pandemic. I have traversed many stages and life stations and each step of the way I found myself becoming a new person still imprisoned by old thinking patterns; not fully open to accepting and growing into the person who I was becoming. The Way of Peace by James Allen was a timely book for me because it opened my eyes to see that meditation is more important than I realized, the real battle is always internal, and it helped me to understand what it really means to be human.

Many humans on earth are religious and have a different view on meditation. Some see it as a necessary part of the day while others have negative images of levitation or communicating with another dimension. James Allen gives this guidance, “Meditation, centered upon divine realities, is the very essence and soul of prayer. Meditation is the intense dwelling, in thought, upon an idea or theme, with the object of thoroughly comprehending it. [Furthermore], there is an unavoidable tendency to become, literally, the embodiment of the quality upon which one most constantly thinks.” Biblical scholars call it being “filled with the spirit” while others call it “vibrating on a higher frequency”, but it is clear that the art of meditation helps to connect the heart of the human to that of the divine.

The author went on to discuss the internal battle that ravages every human soul: the master of self vs. the master of truth. Actually, an entire chapter is dedicated to this topic as the author states that truth is “ineffable” – meaning it cannot be summarized in one sentence or definition alone. Truth must be lived and “where self is, truth is not; where truth is, self is not.” He mentions the notion of stepping outside of yourself, your ego, worldview, etc. to be able to fully embrace the beauty of life that ever flows in harmony. Even in one off disputes or negative interactions – in that moment, one can find peace by identifying with truth (which is how the divine judge identifies) rather than to identify with the material, perishable affairs of this world, which do not add a pennyworth deposit to one’s peace bank account. Thus, to identify with self is to be selfish – a concept that I struggled with because I have had a lifelong battle with loving myself, and, I merely learned to embrace the concept of self-love a couple years ago.

I believe there is a clear, distinct line between self-love and being a selfish person. Self-love is embracing your eternal soul and being confident enough to fully enjoy and accept who you are just as you are. Growth is paramount, but contentment is key. Being selfish, on the other hand, involves a distorted obsession with material qualities and properties. This obsession causes friction between others, yet, if the battle were waged within each human prior to addressing other humans – the world might experience more peace. Literally. Therefore, James Allen helped me see the bigger picture as I do my best to navigate the ills of this world and the humans produced by an ill society.

Lastly, The Way of Peace by James Allen helped me understand what it means to be human. Notice, I repeatedly am using the word “human”. At what point in your journey did you stop to consider what it really means to be alive? We were educated and indoctrinated by our parents and our respective societal systems, but who sat us down to give us a thorough understanding of what a human being is? Who knew that there is a universal principle behind “if you can believe it you can achieve it”? Religion prompts us to prayer, but James Allen helps us understand how the law of attraction works. Many of us were taught to pray (meditation centered upon divine realities) and make petitions to God for things, which indeed we should, however, this book helped me see that to be human means that I am already connected to the divine source of all things. Through my connection with the divine, I am connected to others and our collective purpose is and has always been the same – to identify with truth and improve upon what God created here on earth. I was born with the ability to attract my greatest desires into my life.

In a world ripe with suffering, anguish, and turmoil, The Way of Peace taught me how to tame my soul. It showed me the mistakes that I had been making in clinging to self, material ambitions, and perishable identities. The book taught me that peace could be so simple. I can have it within myself. I can introduce it into the life of others. It showed me a blueprint to end the suffering, strife, and animosity between my white and black brothers and sisters living here in the United States. To the entrepreneur seeking generational wealth for her family, to the determined young person who has identified a void in her community structure and has vowed to make a difference – I highly encourage you to read The Way of Peace by James Allen. It opened my eyes to see that meditation is far more important than I realized, it showed me that the real battle is always internal, and it helped me understand what it means to be human. I shed tears of joy upon reading the final pages, because I had finally found myself.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Our mission is to provide quality learning materials which inspire young minds to aspire for excellence while embracing their heritage. Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, a term coined by Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, is a teaching that believes that culture is central to learning. It recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning. While many studies exist to explain why African American students do not excel well academically, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy has been proven to increase academic achievement. This is the foundation of our learning materials. The vision of Melanin Origins is to become the largest culturally competent book provider in the United States of America. Cultural competence is the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures, not merely tolerate them or meet quotas for diversity and inclusion. Competence is the destination. We began our company highlighting the lives and achievements of lesser-known African American pioneers for children in second grade and below, but we will also expand our book topics to middle grade, teen, and young adult audiences as well as cover lesser-known innovators from Latin, Asian, African, and European cultures. We are most proud of our historical leaders for leading exceptional lives. They dedicated themselves to excellence in hopes that we, who are living today, will be in the best situation possible. What sets us apart from the rest is this – we introduce our children to their leader in the most healthy way possible.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have to recommend Jamaica Gates! It’s the best Jamaican food I’ve ever tasted. Forum Roller World is a great time of on multiple days of the week. Adult night, every Sunday and Thursday, is where some of the most beautiful and talented people come from the surrounding areas for a good time. I enjoy nature, so Veteran’s Park in Arlington is peaceful, or the Botanical Gardens in Fort Worth. Fort Worth Water Gardens is also a great time. Late night on the weekend – I may be at Temptations Lounge in Arlington enjoying a fresh brew or I may stroll through the Arlington Highlands to shop, eat or watch a game at a bar. There are so many ways to enjoy yourself in Arlington.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This shoutout is dedicated to my brother Traveon Jefferson for his outstanding ambition of being the first in his family to earn an undergraduate degree, gain two Master’s Degree’s, pioneer a blazing trail for his peers, and for going the extra mile everyday to make a difference in the lives of the children he serves at Crowley High School. I salute you King!

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Image Credits
David Starks Aydn Torabi Brandon Rogers

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.