So it is in nonviolence: we are the instruments of experimentation and observation. The more resentment in our hearts the more we affect the results of our action. The more relaxed we are in a given situation–even if we are resisting and being firm with someone–we will influence the result of that action. It’s for this reason that some say Gandhi is a “purist,” that you have to be free from normal human reactions to be nonviolent. But like a good scientist he’s not saying you have to be a “pure” soul in order to be nonviolent, only that our states of minds will influence the way we see others, the world, and even the results of our actions, so yes, we need to work on ourselves if we want to deepen our view of the full scope of nonviolent possibilities. It calls to mind St. Francis of Assisi in a whole new light, you know, the whole “Make me an instrument of thy peace” stuff?
Remarkably, Gandhi was talking about the science of nonviolence at a time when science really could not back up his unique form of social research. However, for the past thirty years, science has given us a much more inspiring picture of how nonviolence actually works, from quantum physics to “mirror neurons.”
Think about the way that you would address someone who really hurt you versus the way you would approach someone who just made you feel happy and loved. How does your approach change, and to what effect?
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 email@example.com