Today’s newsletter includes: a relaxing breath practice to keep you feeling calm and refreshed; the latest episode of Nonviolence Radio; and links to inspiring videos, books, and experiments. Dive in and enjoy! Read the January 10, 2018 newsletter. Get the Metta Center’s newsletter.
We need more people in the world who won’t give up on others, even when we are very hard to love. In the glorious words of American poet Mary Oliver: Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting— over and over announcing your place in the family of things. Today’s newsletter draws inspiration from holiday stories—and the fact that all of us are the stuff of nonviolence. Read the December 27, 2017 newsletter. Get the Metta Center’s newsletter.
There are things we can’t change, but there’s always something within that framework that we can. The severe deterioration of our democratic institutions seems to have an implacable momentum, leading us to the kind of seismic cultural change known as “paradigm shift.” That we can do little about. But what we can do—and the Metta Center is very glad to be a part of—is try to help the shift be, as Sally Goerner says, “gentle rather than catastrophic.” See what our founder Michael Nagler says about that in today’s newsletter. We also share some inspiring resources for you on the new story. Read the December 13, 2017 newsletter. Get the Metta Center’s newsletter. Access the newsletter archives.
This guest post was contributed by George Cassidy Payne, the founder of Gandhi Earth Keepers International. He is also a writer, a domestic violence counselor, and an adjunct professor of philosophy. George lives and works in Rochester, NY. You can follow him on LinkedIn. The most powerful force in the universe is not electromagnetism, gravity or time. The greatest force in the universe is Satyagraha, which technically means a firm or steadfast adherence to Truth. Satyagraha is the most powerful force in the universe because it is the universe. It is the moral dimension of the universe revealing itself through social and political action. Mohandas Gandhi coined the term in 1906 while leading a nonviolent resistance movement against the British. He wrote: None of us knew what name to give to our movement. I then used the term “passive resistance” in describing it. I did not quite understand the implication of “passive resistance” as I called it. I only knew that some new principle had come into being. As the struggle advanced, the phrase “passive resistance” gave rise to confusion and it appeared shameful to permit this great struggle to be known only by an English name… I thus began to call the Indian movement “satyagraha,” that is to say, the Force which is born of Truth and Love or non-violence, and gave up the use of the phrase “passive resistance” in connection with it, so much so that even in English writing we often avoided it and used instead the word “satyagraha” itself or some other equivalent English phrase. This then was the genesis of the movement which came to be known as Satyagraha, and of the word used designation for it. Tactically, there are four main components that must be in place to activate Satyagraha. Firstly, a Satyagrahi must comprehend that all life is interconnected. From the ant to the aurora borealis, all life forms-including physical, mental and spiritual-are one at the source of their creative purpose. The second principle is that persuasion overcomes coercion. That is to say, there is a long term advantage to convincing an adversary to understand and empathize with your perspective. Compelling opponents through intimidation or bribery is only temporarily effective, and it always has unintended consequences. Thirdly, a Satyagrahi knows that ends and means must be aligned. Mohandas Gandhi referred to a surgeon who uses contaminated tools and expects a successful operation, which is an attitude that is both illogical and irresponsible. Fourthly, a Satyagrahi is transparent in all matters. In any struggle the truth is pursued in good faith, with an open mind, and with sincerity. Gandhi once wrote, “Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.” Underlining each of these four components is a conscious belief in the spectacle of bravery—the type that can only be manifested through […]
Vinoba Bhave (above) Dr. Geeta Mehta talks with Nonviolence Radio about her experiences with Vinoba Bhave, one of Gandhiji’s closest associates/students, and founder of the incredible land-gift movement. Then, Michael and Stephanie affirm the power of nonviolence with their inspiring dose of Nonviolence in the News from around the world.
Dear Metta Center Friends, I first learned about the Metta Center last December, when my mentor and I were looking into UC Berkeley’s Peace & Conflict Studies program, which was of course founded by the Metta Center’s Michael Nagler. After I came across a call for volunteers on Facebook this summer, I asked if I could help remotely, as I’m living out my human rights journey at Southern Methodist University, in my hometown of Dallas, Texas. Since June of this year, I’ve been volunteering as a research assistant for Dr. Nagler and Stephanie Van Hook, the organization’s executive director. I’ve also helped edit/format a book chapter on nonviolence and the economy. My volunteer work makes a difference in my life, because I get to soak up the wisdom of nonviolent practitioners. It has also given me opportunities to share my own voice. I’ve published an autobiographical poem through the web version of Nonviolence magazine, and my essay about living as a Muslim in the US will run in the Winter/Spring 2018 issue of the magazine. Changing hearts and minds is the hardest work, but it is so rewarding. My peers, friends, family, and mentors help me realize that in this process of giving to the world, I am giving so much to myself. Social justice starts with each of us—we are our own human selves. The human rights champions around me—and those who are their true, unapologetic selves—fill me with hope. I feel at peace knowing that there are so many people fighting the good fight. I am hopeful, too, because all our journeys come together to form one human story. I appreciate being able to share some of my story with you here. Volunteering is one way to support the Metta Center’s work. Donating is also a powerful form of support. At the Metta Center, our community’s work is grounded in transforming ourselves, our relationships, and our world (no small tasks!). Any amount you can give will help the Metta Center reach more hearts and minds with the nonviolence resources the world desperately needs. Donate today! Thanks in advance for giving us a hand. I wish you and your loved ones the very best for the rest of 2017. Kindly, Lamisa Mustafa P.S. I’m passionate about the power of narratives in social justice. So I’m putting together a poetry anthology to celebrate human diversity and the human experience. I’m welcoming submissions til December 17.
This guest post was contributed by George Cassidy Payne, the founder of Gandhi Earth Keepers International. He is also a writer, a domestic violence counselor, and an adjunct professor of philosophy. George lives and works in Rochester, NY. The world does not need more energy, cars, street lights, and computers. The world does not need more airports, superhighways, and mega cities. The world does not need more democracies and free markets. The world does not need more hospitals, medicines, and cures. The world does not need more agreements, treaties, and contracts. The world does not need more conversations, Facebook memes, and status updates. The world does not need more programs, grants, and scholarships. The world does not need more helpers and doers. The world does not need better high schools and colleges. The world does not need anything, not really. The world has everything that it will ever need. The world only needs to be left alone. Less tweaking and less tinkering. The world wants to be forgotten so that it can be lived. The world wants to be lost so that it can be saved. The world wants to be accepted just as it is. When Gandhi said be the change you want to see in the world, he meant be yourself. Change with the tide. Wash away with the current. Go away with the breeze. Take a breath. Become the void. Hold onto the anchor that steadies. For the world is changing all of the time. Be the change. In time, go with the world wherever it leads. Go with it. Do not try to stop it. Do not try to turn it back. Do not try to make it different. Rather change yourself. Turn as the leaves turn. Grow. Yearn for the sunlight. Stay rooted in the soil. Be one. Be the change. Be yourself. This is what Gandhi wanted us to understand. Elsewhere the Mahatma wrote: “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world—that is the myth of the atomic—as in being able to remake ourselves.” If anything at all, that is what the world needs. It needs people who are not afraid to remake themselves.
By the end of November, in this season of thanks and giving, we might begin to feel like we’re on gratitude overload! Everyone is talking about gratitude—but what if we stop for a moment to consider how truly revolutionary that is? In this spirit of radical gratitude, we are grateful to all of you for your support and collaboration in these efforts towards creating a more just and peaceful world. Turn to our latest newsletter for a generous dose of inspiration. Read the November 29, 2017 newsletter. Get the Metta Center’s newsletter. Access the newsletter archives.
What are you thankful for? Gratitude is on our minds. So for this week’s newsletter introduction, our Partnership Catalyst expresses her thankfulness. You’ll also find links to Nonviolence Radio show and other resources. Did you know that we can provide nonviolence trainings for elementary school kids? Learn more about that too. Read the November 15, 2017 newsletter. Get the Metta Center’s newsletter. Access the newsletter archives.