Author: Metta Center

Innate Non-Aggression: Daily Metta

Innately Nonviolent Frans de Waal’s findings on rhesus monkeys give us some surprising take-aways about the ways that nonviolence shows up in the animal kingdom. Watch the short video for Michael Nagler’s re-framing of the “innate aggression” theory. About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share the Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. This 2016 Daily Metta video series correlates with Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide. Want to see more Daily Mettas? Access the entire archives. To receive Daily Metta by email, simply subscribe.

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The Law That Binds Us: Newsletter

The Law of Human Unity “Just as the law of gravitation existed before its discovery—and would exist if all humanity forgot it—so is it with the laws that govern the spiritual relations between soul and soul and between individual spirits.” Swami Vivekananda’s yogic words are a beacon on the illusion of separation: We may at times forget our unity, but it’s nevertheless there, as real as the binding force of gravity. So today’s newsletter looks at that which unites us. Read the January 13, 2016 newsletter. Subscribe to our newsletter.

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Delegitimizing Violence: Daily Metta

Working to End Violence Michael Nagler discusses picking up with the work that Martin Luther King, Jr. couldn’t get around to: delegitimizing violence.     About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share the Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. This 2016 Daily Metta video series correlates with Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide. Want to see more Daily Mettas? Access the entire archives. To receive Daily Metta by email, simply subscribe.

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Dignity + Unity: Daily Metta

“Dignity is connected with unity.” In today’s Daily Metta, Michael Nagler looks at the key to tackling the rise of hatred, the very root of all violence. About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share the Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. This 2016 Daily Metta video series correlates with Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide. Want to see more Daily Mettas? Access the entire archives. To receive Daily Metta by email, simply subscribe.

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Community and Restorative Justice

The following post was contributed by Annabelle Berrios, JD, MA.   There are people who walk towards conflict wanting to know peace. This encapsulates the sense I had of the practitioners and panelists I met at the 5th National Conference on Community and Restorative Justice in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (May 31 to June 3). But there is more. The conference was not only on restorative justice, it was on community and restorative justice. This underscores a theme I heard repeated throughout: that nurturing community is what drives members to protect it, preserve it, repair the harm and restore relationships when trust has been broken. There are people who walk towards conflict who want to know peace, and…they don’t do it alone. They do it together, as a community, not only in the context of the criminal justice system, but also in the context of families, workplaces, schools and spiritual/religious congregations. Imagine confronting challenges as a team, where each individual’s welfare matters and is understood to be linked to the well-being of the group. Imagine communities of transparency, where the effects of individual actions are voiced, felt and acknowledged by all affected. Imagine a community holding members accountable by supporting them to succeed in new choices that result in better outcomes. Imagine being seen and loved that much. Imagine having the capacity to see and love that much. What “impossible things” might you accomplish with that much support and commitment? A song that conveys the feeling of that for me: The following are some of the takeaways I brought home from the conference: 1. Where there is punishment, there is no accountability. This appears to address the misconception that restorative justice is soft addressing conduct that causes harm. Whether we are talking about a dispute or a crime, a circle happens so that there can be accountability. In a punitive system, it is unsafe to take responsibility because the role of offender is inherently unsafe, as accepting responsibility only results in punishment. It reduces conflict to a polarity of static roles where parties must fall on one end of the spectrum or another, and does not consider larger community interests. A restorative system acknowledges the complexity inherent in human relationships and creates a safe space for individuals to take responsibility and take action to repair harm & restore relationships in their communities. 2. Context matters. The idea of configuring in a circle is to meet as human equals, putting down for a period of time the social ranks that signal to imbalances of power and authority, so that it is a safe environment to tell the truth. Context includes choosing the places that would most support the conversations that people want to have. These could be places where historical harm has occurred or where social transformation has occurred. Symbols are important here, as they convey a shared meaning. The community sees the circle in a larger context of shared meaning that uplifts them and supports where they want to go together. […]

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