The world of advertising tries to lure us into the mindset that consequences–be they spiritual, psychological or physical–are problems to be solved, instead of lessons to be learned. If you overeat and get a stomachache, you can take a medicine to fix it, and never learn the lesson of moderation. Similarly, if in a moment of inattention, you were unkind to someone and it hurt YOU more than it hurt them, or worse, hurt both of you very deeply, allowing oneself to be with the discomfort of the situation can most often provide more wisdom and understanding than finding a way to numb the pain with drugs or alcohol or work. It will not be too surprising to some to learn that the German word for, ‘corporation’ in German means “a group with limited accountability.” Wow. Think about that. If we want to address the issue of corporate non-accountability, we would do well to start with a look at our own lives and asking ourselves if we have accepted the doctrine of ignoring the consequences of our daily actions!
On the other hand, consciously accepting the consequences of our actions with an open heart is a path that leads ultimately to transformation. In nonviolence we can take this lesson a step further. Actively accepting the consequences of taking a certain action can prick the conscience of others (it may have to do with our mirror neurons!). As one small example of this practice, Gandhi would publicly break unjust laws and ask for the full consequence to be given him and by his example, he encouraged others to do the same.
Pay attention to the consequences today. They are not punishments but teachers.
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 firstname.lastname@example.org