Category: Stephanie Van Hook

The Metta Center at Google

Michael Nagler, our founder, and Stephanie Van Hook, our executive director, recently spoke at Google. Hmm… Any guess on what they might have spoke about? You guessed it: They talked about the transformational powers of nonviolence. In his main presentation, Michael outlines the principles of nonviolence and how we can apply them today. He also discusses: how nonviolence has developed since Gandhi and King, the forces impeding the progress of nonviolence currently, how to shift the paradigm so as to release the power of nonviolence, and how to find our unique roles in the process of shifting the paradigm. At the very beginning of his presentation, Michael shares a preview of the documentary we’re working on with Metta friend Lou Zweier (thanks for all your amazing work, Lou!). It’s called The Journey Home, and we think you’re going to love it. Check out Metta’s presentation—and enjoy the preview of The Journey Home.

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Workshop: Transform your Thinking, Transform your Actions, use NONVIOLENCE

  On the path of nonviolence, fear can be both foe and ally. We can be curious about its message for us, and invite its wisdom; or we can let it rule us, keeping us from engaging in true depth with the very purpose of our lives. In this workshop we will explore a process for identifying our hearts’ calling–moving into relationship with our fears– and then imagine ways for strategically harnessing the transformed fear energy into concrete, constructive and creative actions for long-term nonviolent change, such as restorative justice and unarmed protection teams. With Linda Sartor and Stephanie Van Hook Where: Lanham Village Community Center, 4 Martin Drive, Novato. When: April 8th, 10:00am to 1:00 pm   Donation: $20.  No one turned away for lack of funds   Facilitators: Linda Sartor, Author of Turning Fear into Power: One Woman’s Journey Confronting the War on Terror. We are honored to have Linda present her book nonviolent workshop to Marin County.  Linda will bring her wisdom and experience in presenting how to transform our thinking and action.   Stephanie Van Hook, Director of the Metta Center for Nonviolence and children’s book author, Gandhi Searches for Truth.  We are honored to have Stephanie present her incredible knowledge and experience in our nonviolent evolution.   

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Never Despair: Daily Metta

“Man’s nature is not essentially evil. Brute nature has been known to yield to the influence of love. You must never despair of human nature.”  ~ Gandhi, Harijan, November 1938 The 1930s were not a very hopeful time in the history of world politics, yet here we have Gandhi echoing across the years with a clarion call of hope: do not despair of human nature. People may be obstinate; people may be unkind; people may be downright cruel; but that’s not the whole story. People can change. People can exhibit extraordinary selflessness. People can still love even in the face of the most challenging circumstances, with a fierce, unrelenting love that can stop pipelines and wars. But this love is not a soft, sweet love. It’s the kind of love that resists, and protects, and draws out the highest powers—real power—in people. In a word: nonviolence. 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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Women’s Power: Daily Metta

“Woman is more fitted than man to make explorations and take bolder actions in ahimsa.” ~ Gandhi, Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 294 Certainly one can do without the gender essentialism in the 21st century, but that’s the problem when you take quotes out of their time and context. What we have to understand here is that Gandhi was working within a society and time where women were marginalized and stepped on even more than today within the social order. And within the colonial system itself, exploited nations were thought of as “effeminate.” If we look even slightly closer, we see that Gandhi is bringing women out into the open by aligning them with nonviolence, and that he includes himself and his movement in that categorization. Women are powerful. That is his message. This is actually the basis for Gandhi’s feminism: not essentialism, but deep empowerment. 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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Village Life: Daily Metta

“…[P]eople will never be able to live in peace with each other in towns and palaces. They will then have no recourse but to resort to both violence and untruth. We can realize truth and nonviolence only in the simplicity of village life. ~ Gandhi, Letter to Nehru, October, 1945, in Bhoodan, March 26, 1960 This is one of his strongest statements on the role of villages, for which viable neighborhoods (apartment houses) might be a Western equivalent, if they were to function like villages. It does underscore the challenge we face in rebuilding a life of material simplicity and rich, close relationships; which, if Gandhi is right, is pretty much a necessity if we are to avoid “violence and untruth.” There must be a modern equivalent, and I don’t think social media does it; but it’s open to each of us to work out his or her own formula: how to live in accordance with Martin Luther King’s admonition that we must “rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented civilization to a person-oriented civilization.” 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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Truth to Truth: Daily Metta

“My aim is not to be consistent with my previous statements on a given question, but to be consistent with truth as it may present itself to me at a given moment. The result has been that I have grown from truth to truth.” ~ Gandhi, Harijan, August 30, 1939 Instead of setting his sights on a moral rule made by men that he had to apply in every situation, Gandhi relied on the natural laws that govern the universe, like Truth. In fact, his life was dedicated to discovering Truth. That’s important for anyone to realize about the Mahatma. He was not going after money, fame, power —any of it. He wanted to discover Truth itself. Reality. And so few of us can claim to be doing that with such intensity. People like him remind us that those who want to follow Truth must be willing to sacrifice everything for it, in the end. It’s an incremental project for most of us, of course. This process is steadily reflected in Gandhi’s life, and one excellent book that marks his transformation is Eknath Easwaran’s Gandhi the Man. 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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No Room for Hatred: Daily Metta

“My personal religion peremptorily forbids me to hate anybody.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, August 6, 1925 When the heart is full of love, there is no room for hatred. That does not mean that there is no space to resist injustice, or to say no to someone who needs to hear it—on the contrary. It may well mean that we sometimes really need to struggle to overcome a downward pull toward the ultimate separating barrier of “otherness” which, when it becomes a habit, makes not only indifference but, if left untended to, murder and genocide possible. Anyone who strives toward the highest ideals of nonviolence, therefore, will one day come across the problem of hatred—not only in the world but in themselves. And it is up to each one of us to decide how and in what measure we will challenge ourselves to do something about it. Gandhi, as he notes in 1925, has his own method that he relates to his “personal religion.” What is your approach? 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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Real Swaraj: Daily Metta

[R]eal Swaraj will come, not by the acquisition of authority by a few, but by the acquisition of the capacity by all to resist authority when it is abused. In other words, Swaraj is to be attained by educating the masses to a sense of their capacity to regulate and control authority. ~ Gandhi, Young India, January 29, 1925, p. 41 Voting alone does not guarantee a healthy democracy. It is one way that the populace asserts its control over authority, at least symbolically, by letting those in power know that they’ve been elected, not appointed by Divine Right. Why should democracy do with voting alone, Gandhi urges us to consider. Let’s work for that great day when nonviolence and civil disobedience is “mandatory education” for those who consider themselves to be living in democratic nations. What would it take for our nation to realize that we “regulate and control” the government? 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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Truth Be Told: Daily Metta

“Suspicion is of the brood of violence. Nonviolence cannot but trust.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, May 20, 1925 Nonviolence is never about changing another person directly. It’s always about changing ourselves in order to see more directly into the heart of a conflict and effect transformation there, which can, in time, change others. Truth be told, we simply can’t get to the root of conflict if our hearts and minds are agitated. We can get there with a higher image of others and ourselves, an image that interestingly enough, satiates a part of our minds. Living in a state of agitation, such as of paranoia, of suspicion, is only possible when we hold others in low esteem or feel that we ourselves are violating some rule or law, and are therefore afraid of the consequences—in other words, hatred and fear rule the day. In nonviolence we have to have trust in ourselves first. We have to see that whatever others offer us, we have the inner tools to take it on. These of course need to be systematically developed. Not surprisingly, Gandhi’s call to trust actually requires quite a bit of effort. 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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Permanent Good: Daily Metta

“Some of the immediate and brilliant results of modern inventions are too maddening to resist. But I have no manner of doubt that the victory of [wo]man lies in that resistance. We are in danger of bartering away the permanent good for a momentary pleasure.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, June 2, 1927 Perhaps it is because we have no collective vision of a higher form of pleasure that we run after material goods, in the hopes of some temporary satiation of our unconscious longing for a lasting satisfaction. Maybe we do not believe—or have been conditioned to doubt—that it is possible to achieve a permanent good. Gandhi is telling us right here that our very salvation as human beings lies in breaking through those doubts and taking on the challenge to find out for ourselves. He gives us an important clue: resist momentary pleasure. Let it pass as any other form of temporary agitation, like waves in the ocean. But when we get control over that agitation, the waves can subside. Beneath it, we might discover a great treasure. And we might find immense peace and inward strength—two key elements of permanent satisfaction—when we playfully and consciously resist instead of indulge our cravings for the latest iPhone or whatever. 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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