Meditations on the spiritual dimensions of nonviolent discipline

    fistofthespiritFor nonviolence to be truly waged, the practitioner must be skilled in the science of the soul, the art of self-knowledge by which his/her natural peace vibration can resonate uninhibited. Yes, we are warriors, yet our war is not against flesh and blood; we do not seek the destruction of our brethren, but rather their peaceful conversion into loving, self-realized beings. Our battlefield is that of the human heart and its stillness depends upon our constant vigilance and relentless care. We must remember that we are bearers of the original status quo, a cosmically ordained harmony and peace—the natural state of affairs. Our insurrection therefore must be against the forces which have swooned our hearts and obscured the light of our oneness as a people. Convulsive fits of violence, disrupting the natural flow, erupt when wagers of nonviolence go astray. The covetous fantasies of grandeur and excess are not exclusive to members of the multinational corporate and military elite but lie in wait for us all.

    And so I wonder: Can we see the seeds of violence in ourselves? Do we see our own complicity in the great divide?

    One thing is for sure. Our protests and campaigns will be effective only to the degree that we are capable of meeting hatred with love and falsehood with truth. This is our mission, individually and collectively. It is no easy task. Such knowledge can not be purchased and so we must train ourselves and stimulate our hearts with the enrichment that relationship in community brings. We must educate and encourage one another in the practice of nonviolence which is the active formation of the soul and strengthening of one’s character.

    As someone who espouses nonviolence and universal Love as pillars of Truth, I often question if I have what it takes in the end. It is easy to love my friend and colleague, yet am I making efforts to Love my enemy and oppressor? Can I be true to my innermost self and manifest peace in the face of violence? Will I have the clarity of vision to see a suffering brother/sister in the eyes of a soldier of death? I have my doubts and fears yet I believe waging nonviolence is what you do in spite of them.

    Right now, all I can do is stand in solidarity with those whose hearts are big enough to forgive, with those who reject violence when it seems they almost have a right to it. These prophets of peace among us light the way and set the standard.

    Despite individual weakness, I am edified when I recall that simply speaking truth to power is always a service to those who have ears to hear. May the Almighty open our ears to each other’s song and may we dance thy kingdom come. Wage on.

    Recent Stories

      Unlike the pandemic, nuclear war can be stopped before it begins

      August 4, 2020

      Seventy-five years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the anti-nuclear movement is taking big steps toward abolition.

      • Q&A

      We can’t ‘fix’ policing or prison — but we can decide how to create actual safety

      August 3, 2020

      “Prison By Any Other Name” authors Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law caution against quick-fix solutions and spotlight grassroots abolitionist movement building.

      • Feature

      A century later, the women’s suffrage movement offers a timely lesson on how to win through escalation

      July 30, 2020

      As the 19th Amendment turns 100 amid a summer of mass protest, it’s important to remember the decisive role nonviolent direct action played in hastening its ratification.