Every year on October 2nd marks the birthday of Mohanadas Gandhi – fondly referred to by many as Mahatama (great soul). One of Gandhi’s legacy is widely accepted as his well-known adherence to the principles of non-violence. He stuck to this core value of non-violence, even in the face of the overwhelming force exerted by the formidable British empire. Gandhi was influenced by Thoreau, and in turn, influenced Martin Luther King, Jr with his mantra on non-violence as a primary and ethical means of living our lives.
Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.- Mahatma Gandhi
From a spiritual growth perspective, adherence to non-violence seems like a natural path to follow. Consider the ethical concept of non-injury to others – it can perhaps only be complete if we practice it in the three-fold domain of body, mind and spirit. If we engage in causing injury to others with our thoughts and feelings of anger, hatred and judgement, it will only be a matter of time before we cause injury with our words, and possibly, even with our actions. It is perhaps no accident that conflicts, on small and large scales, begin due to an intent to injure the other in thought. An intensification of thought creates feelings, which form words, and then actions.
I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and Non-violence are as old as the hills. All I have done is to try experiments in both on as vast a scale as I could. – Mahatma Gandhi
For those who participated in last week’s chat on the spirit of experimentation, the experiment continues. This week, we experiment with the idea that nonviolence remains a viable means of living our life – a life of high quality, high value, high degree of love and service, high level of faith and hope, high level of trust and willingness to communicate and compromise.
At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love. – Martin Luther King, Jr
Some may argue that nonviolence is a form of fear, in that it is an escape from a willingness to fight. Or that nonviolence is a form of pacifism or passivity, adopted by those who lack the courage to do “battle” in the battleground of life. What do you think? Is it really a sense of fear, a lack of courage, a propensity for passivity, that attracts people to nonviolence? Are there circumstances under which “violence” may be necessary, or even justified? When in conflict with another, who insists on being combative, what is an appropriate response? How can inner and outer peace be preserved with a commitment to nonviolence?
I invite you to join me as I host the #spiritchat community in a live conversation on twitter about non-violence. Sunday, October 6th at 9am ET, our experiment continues.
Be well, Be in peace. Namaste,
Update: Here are the questions asked during the chat on Nonviolence. Enjoy, and feel free to answer in the comments… The full transcript and statistics are available at http://bit.ly/sc-tr-1006 . Thank you for sharing!
Ready. Q1. Imagine a state of complete nonviolence. What does it look, feel, sound like? #spiritchat
Q2. How is practice of nonviolence relevant to you in your current life state? Or is it? #SpiritChat
Q3. How can we continue to practice nonviolence when faced with violence, injustice? Or can we? #SpiritChat
Q4. What is the connection between nonviolence and faith? Or is there one? #SpiritChat
Q5. “In some cases non-violence may require more militancy than violence.” Agree or disagree? #SpiritChat
Q6. Does a practice of nonviolence preclude us from practicing “resistance”? What is our spirit resisting? #SpiritChat
Q7. How does our inner practice of nonviolence impact our families and communities? #SpiritChat
Final Q8. Going forward, we can integrate nonviolence in mind, body and spirit by… #SpiritChat