Author: Stephanie Van Hook

Intent to Heal: Daily Metta

“A Gujarati didactic stanza likewise gripped my mind and heart. Its precept, return good for evil, became my guiding principle.” ~ Gandhi, Autobiography, Chapter X When Gandhi uses terms like “good and evil,” we have to be clear about what he means. “Evil” does not apply to people, it means the energy behind an action: something intended to harm, to degrade, something consciously cruel, based on the illusion that we are separate. To that, one offers its opposite: the intention to heal, to uplift, to be consciously compassionate based on the awareness that we are one. Here are those famous lines in English translation: For a bowl of water give a goodly meal; For a kindly greeting bow thou down with zeal; For a simple penny pay thou back with gold; If they life be rescued, life do not withhold. Thus the words and actions of the wise regard; Every little service tenfold they reward. But the truly noble know all men as one, And return with gladness good for evil done. Thanks for sharing a comment below. About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement 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. Enjoy more Daily Metta: See the  archives Get Daily Metta by email: Subscribe    

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As a Whole: Daily Metta

“Whoever tries to serve his private ends without serving others harms himself as well as the world at large. The reason is obvious.”  ~ Gandhi, Ashram Observances in Action, p. 68 Most of us do not grow up with the understanding that pursuit of private satisfaction and well-being, without regard for others, is in any way a harmful one; which it is. For Gandhi, the reason was obvious. In his words, “All living beings are members of one another.” That’s dramatic language, and he meant it. He did not suggest that we are merely related or closely connected; instead he emphasized that we are not actually separate creatures at all. He saw all of life, in other words, as a whole. Consequently, our actions produce either good or bad effects which extend to everyone. When we begin to understand this, see it in action, we stand, at the very least, to increase in that valuable self-knowledge that makes nonviolence possible. Thanks for sharing a comment below. About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement 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. Enjoy more Daily Metta: See the  archives Get Daily Metta by email: Subscribe      

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Level of Principle: Daily Metta

“I have sacrificed no principle to gain a political advantage.” ~ Gandhi, Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 38 You can always count on Gandhi for words that will soothe and refresh. Imagine it: in the midst of political turmoil, he is able to profess that he refuses to sacrifice his principles to gain an advantage. It’s a sad commentary on the one hand: do we take it as the natural path of politics to be loose with our deepest values? And on the other hand, it’s a wonderful statement: he has an “advantage” precisely because he does not waver in his values. The principle is that whether or not people agree with us, and whether they can or want to articulate their feelings or not, when we hold onto our core principles we become stronger and more secure because those very ideals can guide us through moments when no direction seems inviting. When we begin to work at that level of principle, the public conversation immediately deepens. When a popular leader speaks to those principles, people listen. Thanks for sharing a comment below. About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement 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. Enjoy more Daily Metta: See the  archives Get Daily Metta by email: Subscribe    

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Distance & Time: Daily Metta

“I wholeheartedly detest this mad desire to destroy distance and time.” ~ Gandhi, Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 233 In order to see life as it is, to see people as they are, not to mention ourselves, we have to slow down. Instead of long walks or journeys, we fly from one place to the other or drive as fast as we can. Instead of writing letters, we are texting or emailing at all moments of the day as though it were a compulsion. Where there was room for silence before, for waiting, for reflecting, now, thanks to our technologies, we are obligated to make split decisions from everything to how I feel about your opinions to how I feel about the latest statement from a political candidate. It’s hard to hear our hearts in the midst of this chaotic, incessant effort, as Gandhi said, “to destroy distance and time.” If Gandhi had patience with people who opposed him, could even love and admire them, that was partly due to his efforts at slowing down, at honoring distance and time, which ironically leads to prioritizing, not neglecting, our relationships with others and our planet. Thanks for sharing a comment below. About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement 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. Enjoy more Daily Metta: See the  archives Get Daily Metta by email: Subscribe    

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Soul Force: Daily Metta

“It is easy to see that soul force is infinitely superior to body force.” ~ Gandhi, Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 165 Is soul force really superior to body force? We would need to look at the big picture, I think, in order to decide. Gandhi says that it’s easy to see, but is it really? When we have been taught that violence and competition are sacred it’s hard to believe that they are ineffectual, unless we suspend our judgment and let ourselves stand outside of that conditioning, be detached, and really look. This is the basis for finding practical, long-term solutions to our political and spiritual crises: letting nonviolence speak for itself, once we have the eyes to see it. Gandhi has no doubt  what we will realize. Thanks for sharing a comment below. About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement 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. Enjoy more Daily Metta: See the  archives Get Daily Metta by email: Subscribe    

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Expansive Notion: Daily Metta

“Man is both matter and spirit, each acting on and affecting the other.” ~ Gandhi, Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 80 We might consider that one of Gandhi’s greatest insights was that he saw humanity, life in general, as more than meets the eye. A vision like this cannot but express itself in nonviolent action; the more expansive notion we have of ourselves as interconnected with all of the rest of life, the more powerfully we can move in the world, because we are moving with integration, with our full selves present and honored, and honoring and making room for others in the same way. Thanks for sharing a comment below. About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement 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. Enjoy more Daily Metta: See the  archives Get Daily Metta by email: Subscribe    

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Abiding Joy: Daily Metta

“When a child, my nurse taught me to repeat Rama-nama whenever I felt afraid or miserable, and it has been second nature with me with growing knowledge and advancing years. I may even say that the word is in my heart, if not actually on my lips, all the twenty-four hours.” ~ Gandhi, Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 80 Rama-nama means using the name of Rama, which means “joy,” as a mantram. When as a child he was upset or afraid or “miserable,” he would say, “Rama, Rama, Rama…” and it would give his mind something to hold onto, to make it steady and thus able to face difficult situations. But as he grew older, he began to repeat it all of the time in his heart and on his lips, to keep the mind steady in difficult situations, as well as moments of extreme excitement and elation, which is the natural pendulum swing of the emotions. It keeps the mind from agitation and focused on it’s highest state: calm, gentle, abiding joy. Thanks for sharing a comment below. About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement 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. Enjoy more Daily Metta: See the  archives Get Daily Metta by email: Subscribe    

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Personal Interest: Daily Metta

“When there is no desire for fruit, there is also no temptation for untruth or himsa.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, Vol. 2, p. 311 When Gandhi tells us, based on his adherence to the mystical teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, to let go of the results of our actions, fruit, or phalam in Sanskrit, he is not recommending that we let go of the desire for good ends to be achieved. All he is saying is that we have to take our personal interest at the expense of others out of the equation. When we see the full picture of life, we see our own good achieved when the well-being of others is secure. Thanks for sharing a comment below. About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement 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. Enjoy more Daily Metta: See the  archives Get Daily Metta by email: Subscribe    

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Awakening Compassion: Daily Metta

Here Michael cites the discovery by Rachel MacNair of what she calls ‘Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress’–the fact that as the Buddha and the others often said, when we injure another, we feel that injury ourselves, a fact for which there is now scientific proof. Michael emphasizes how the nonviolent actor can awaken awareness of this reflection in a person threatening to use violence against one, and that this is one of the powers underlying nonviolence. Add your comments below. About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement 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. Enjoy more Daily Metta: See the  archives Get Daily Metta by email: Subscribe    

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Being Human: Daily Metta

“Unless the mind and the body and the soul are made to work in unison, they cannot be adequately used for the service of mankind.” ~ Gandhi, The Gita According to Gandhi, p. 208 What is a human being? Gandhi answers: Mind, body and spirit. Work that lasts, that uplifts and ennobles, needs to have all three components working together in harmony. It’s a complete package. To take away or to overemphasize any one aspect, Gandhi maintains, takes the wind out of our sails for service, which, he will tell us again and again, is the purpose of being human. Thanks for sharing a comment below. About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement 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. Enjoy more Daily Metta: See the  archives Get Daily Metta by email: Subscribe    

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