Author: Stephanie Van Hook

Charitable Acts: Daily Metta

“A man of charity does not even know that he is doing charitable acts, it is his nature to do so, he cannot help it.” ~ Gandhi, The Gita According to Gandhi, p. 185 Gandhi firmly believed that our nature is good. We do not need to prove it to ourselves by having others affirm it. When we do something charitable towards others, therefore, we should not even notice it. It should be like our blinking or breathing. There is no need to draw attention to ourselves in such a situation; when we do, our act stands to lose its power, redirecting its energy toward our own upliftment rather than that of others—in which our own good is necessarily included. Others will take notice, but it does not need to affect our security. Thanks for contributing 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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Six principles of Kingian Nonviolence

Ever try to talk to your child about Martin Luther King, Jr.? Here’s a quick intro to his vision of nonviolence. Learn about six principles of Kingian nonviolence from 5th grade teacher and Kingian nonviolence trainer, Robin Wildman on this episode of Parent Power Podcast! Listen here, or at the player underneath my bio box. You can also find this podcast on iTunes. Share this widely, and make sure to add your comments below.    

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A Seed Sown: Daily Metta

“The seed is never seen. It works underneath the ground, is itself destroyed, and the tree which rises above the ground is alone seen.” ~ Gandhi, Hind Swaraj, Chapter 2 Gandhi wanted us to understand that no single event, great or small, is an end in itself. Each one leads to something down the line: each one is a seed planted. When we act out of a sense of discontent, it is because the seed of discontent was sown in us by some action in the past. Same goes with the seed of love. All of life begins with a seed sown. Please 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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True Swaraj

“You are impatient. I cannot afford to be likewise.” ~ Gandhi, Hind Swaraj, Chptr 1 Nonviolence requires patience and Gandhi knew this. In Hind Swaraj, he frequently describes the various movements for a free India not under the categories of violent or nonviolent, but by the kind of energy behind the actions of those who were agitating for home rule, or swaraj: those who had patience and those who were impatient. Violent means, he emphasizes, have tended to be the chosen form of resistance for those who were feeling impatient. Impatience would not get them far, he argued. By scratching at the surface of those who held such views, he found that what they wanted was to create the same unequal system that the British had set up. Patience would be needed to unite parties riven asunder; to build new institutions that did not imitate the violence of their colonizers; and to empower a democracy based entirely on nonviolent lines. That does not mean refraining from action, it means in fact that there is a lot to do, and violence, impatience, could ruin the great work of art that was true swaraj. Please 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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Home Rule: Daily Metta

“The views I venture to place before the reader are, needless to say, held by many Indians…and they are also held by thousands of Europeans.” ~ Gandhi, Hind Swaraj Gandhi wrote Hind Swaraj, or Indian Home Rule, in 1909 while on board the Kildonan Castle taking him from England to South Africa. Written in Gujarati, and printed by his own printing press at first, it was banned in India. So Gandhi instead published it in English, which, as the paradox of repression always works, actually gave it a wider readership and much more publicity. Written in dialogue form between an Editor (Gandhiji) and Reader (any of us, but particularly Dr. Pranjivan Mehta, with whom he had argued in India), the piece is a strong critique of imperialism, Indian and English violence, and industrial society in general. Reviewing various subjects from the partition of Bengal to medical science, he paints a picture of an empowered, thriving Indian society, while reasoning carefully against much of the thinking that was inhibiting people from resisting nonviolently. Thanks for contributing 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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A Radical Idea: Daily Metta

“Happiness has no exchange value. There’s no profit from it.” From Gandhi to Vinoba, by Lanzo del Vasto, p. 26 When advertisers offer us happiness in exchange for buying something, for ourselves or others, we would do well to remember Gandhi’s insight: there is no happiness outside of ourselves. Advertisers don’t really want us to be happy. Their job is to make us desire things whether we need them or not, so that we give them, and keep giving them, our money. Sure, with that kind of exchange we may find short-lived experiences of pleasure, but not what we are really after—lasting happiness, deep satisfaction. In a world of material exploitation, voluntary simplicity is a radical idea. Please share your thoughts in the 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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A Serious Call: Daily Metta

“We must not forget that India’s conquest was not an invasion by a people but the operation of a trading company.” From Gandhi to Vinoba, by Lanzo del Vasto, p. 26 Gandhi knew that people thought that he seemed foolish by putting his hopes in the spinning wheel, of all things. But he saw into the heart of the matter: India had lost her grasp on her industries and resources. It was a trading company, not an army, remember. Therefore, reclaiming those resources and those industries, required more than grasping them back out of the hands of the machine-driven West. The people had to rebuild their capacity and skills for the work of which they had been temporarily “relieved.” While on the outside it looked harmless, non-confrontational (how could the hand overcome the machine?), it represented a rather serious call for nonviolent resistance, for reclaiming their culture as much as their resources. Please share your thoughts in the 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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Living the Gita: Daily Metta

“It has been my endeavor, as also that of some companions, to reduce to practice the teachings of the Gita as I have understood it.” ~ Gandhi, The Gita According to Gandhi, p. 126 In Gandhi’s religious tradition, not just anyone offers a commentary on the Baghavad Gita. Usually, this task is reserved for someone for whom the poem has come to life in their heart of hearts. This is why Gandhi’s translation of the text is so special: he was signaling to others how much he was growing inwardly; not to mention that he was in prison at the time! He did not translate it from its original Sanskrit, as he was not very familiar with the ancient language. He worked with the Gujarati translation, mostly, but more importantly, he points out that his commentary was not based in an intellectual, scholarly pursuit. It was a lived pursuit. He wanted to try to live by the teachings of the Gita, and share with others the utter practicality and wisdom of this great story. Share your thoughts in the 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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Nonviolence as Strength: Daily Metta

“Destruction is not the law of the humans.” ~ Gandhi, Harijan in July 20, 1931 If destruction were the law of humanity, we would not feel remorse or regret when we harm others. Our bodies would not respond to violence with pain and stress reactions but with oxytocin. But that isn’t the case. Why are servicemen and women committing suicide in record numbers, more than even combat deaths? Because consciously harming and killing others is not in our nature. When we commit acts of nonviolence, on the other hand, the opposite occurs: people become stronger; life takes on more concrete meaning; communities grow; and healing happens. Thank you for contributing to the 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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Extending Love: Daily Metta

“It is no nonviolence if we merely love those who love us. It is nonviolence only when we love those who hate us.” ~ Gandhi in a letter dated December 31, 1931, from All Men Are Brothers, pg. 78 Nonviolence challenges us to cleanse our heart of all resentment, bitterness, and hatred. If we merely love those who love us, as Jesus also said, how do we grow?  When they stop loving us, then, do we have to stop loving them? Do we lose our capacity for love? No. We can actually grow and expand it. By extending love to those who don’t seem to really “deserve” it, we create the conditions that can help that person change. Remember the Buddha’s advice about “clinging to a higher happiness?” If we don’t show people that higher happiness, that higher truth, who will? No one said nonviolence was the easy way. But it’s the more effective way forward. Would you like to offer any insights on extending love for the enemy? The comments section below awaits! 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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