Gandhi does not tell us not to have any secrets, whatever the cost to ourselves or the movement; rather, as with all his “experiments,” that he has done his best not to do so, and encourages others through his personal example to do the same. Consider his relationship with his so-called opponents. He never organized against them in secrecy; they were invited along in his thought process every inch of the way. When he set out on the famous Salt March he telegrammed the names of all the marchers and their route to the Viceroy. This is what we call in nonviolence a “pull” instead of a “push” model. Instead of forcing or pushing something onto others, for which they may or may not be ready psychologically or spiritually, we “pull” them along with us by the force of our example.
What Gandhi is pointing toward is the liberation that comes from living life in the open — something that is impossible if we’ve taken to violence — as well as the requisite courage to do so. For this reason, if we mire our lives in secrecy, we increase the potential for violence, including exploitation, extortion and other forms of abuse. The more we take heart and move into the open with our personal and political struggles, the more power we can have. Just imagine, for instance, a political system and foreign defense not based in the violence of secrecy, rather one founded on shared knowledge for the service of all. In such a system, we will watch all of the barbed wire fall down, and image, we’ll even entertain, and make real, a new meaning of our “secret service.”
What is one secret in your life that you feel is destructive to keep hidden as a secret? How can you share it and remain safe in doing so?
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 email@example.com