The Sanskrit term svadharma is integral to the vision of a nonviolent world. The concept means that everyone has her or his own life path, that life is about discovering this path and working to stay on it, come wind or rain. It is in traveling this path that we find our greatest power and learning how to navigate the tough spots only makes us more determined. When we have found our calling, or vocation, everything changes. New insights and personal strengths emerge, and we discover the taste of true satisfaction. This is our birthright as human beings.
The heart of svadharma is work. Dignity and work go hand in hand. When we remove dignity from work for personal gain, we have perverted the sacred relationship between them. The more we subvert the purpose of work to the accumulation of wealth and power and the meaningless amassing of material goods, the further we wander from the path and force others to do the same.
Everyone deserves work that dignifies and uplifts us by virtue of our humanity. The more we honor skill building as a key to the development of the spirit, the more our society will evolve large scale models of economic justice and equal rights for all. Everyone has a unique and creative contribution to make to the whole. Start there, resist nonviolently everywhere else.
Review your life. What principle or ideal threads its way throughout? How is that ideal a key to your svadharma?
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 firstname.lastname@example.org