For the sake of clarity, let us assume that when Gandhi uses terms like “goodness” and “evil” he is referring not to people, but to conscious actions and thoughts. An action or thought is “evil” when one consciously chooses to harm another. Something is considered “good” when one consciously chooses to benefit and express care for another.
When we are good within an environment and with people who only want to benefit and help us, this is not the true test of the power of such goodness. We put goodness to work when we draw upon our resources of it in the face of circumstances and people who intend to do us harm. For example, it is easy to tell someone that you love and appreciate them when you are certain that they also love and appreciate you. It is much harder to do so when the other party wants to harm you. But that is exactly the moment when goodness can express itself fully–when it demonstrates that it is a quality of the soul, that it is not dependent upon external circumstances to find its expression. This is how harm stops–when we cease to acknowledge its power.
Put the power of “goodness” to the test the next time you have the opportunity to do so in a somewhat challenging situation. In time, you can try it on bigger challenges as well.
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 firstname.lastname@example.org