The Season of Nonviolence
Name some people you respect…often the names of Nelson Mandela and MLK come up when people are asked that question. Why do you think that is?
The Gandhi King Season for Nonviolence (SNV) commences on January 30, in cities across the globe. The annual 64 day campaign, co-founded in 1998 by Dr. Arun Gandhi and The Association for Global New Thought (AGNT), is an educational, media and grassroots awareness campaign spanning the January 30th and April 4th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The purpose of the campaign is to focus educational and media attention on the philosophy of attaining peace through nonviolent action as demonstrated by legendary leaders Mohandas K. Gandhi, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar E. Chavez, and President Nelson Mandela, as well as living legends such as His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.
Spiritually guided citizen leaders in over 900 cities in at least 67 countries have participated since the campaign began in 1998.
If you go to the website for the Season for Nonviolence, there is a guide for Daily Practices one can do to promote Nonviolence and Peace. (show)
We must ask ourselves what is my part in the goal of global peace?
In Matthew 25, Jesus says, “… I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ … Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
This is what our Way-shower asks of us…we are to look out for the disenfranchised. This is what the Safety pin movement is all about. Trying to be available for those who feel fear for their safety in this new direction that the country seems to be headed.
Fr. Richard Rohr commented in a recent blog, “every viewpoint is a view from a point, and we need to critique our own perspective if we are to see and follow the truth all the way through.”
Why do I mention that quote? Because part of being a Truth student is questioning our own views, thoughts, beliefs.
Have you taken inventory of your thoughts? Beliefs?
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Does peace matter to you, does it matter in your life?
“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” Mahatma Gandhi
Isn’t this what our 5th Principle states: Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them.
We say all the time that Peace begins with me…with each one of us. We sing the peace song at the end of the service. But when we walk out the door, do we follow through with that concept?
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians – you are not like him.”
That is unfortunate.
Unity bases itself on the teachings of Jesus. Our 5 Principles are the essence of His teachings.
- There is only one Presence and one Power, God the Good.
- God is present in all people as our divine essence, our Christ nature.
- We create our life experiences through our way of thinking.
- Through affirmative prayer and meditation, we connect with God and bring out the good in our world.
- Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them.
Gandhi also said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
So how do we go about being the change we wish to see in the world?
Shams Tabrizi, a teacher of RUMI, suggests: A life without love is a waste. “Should I look for spiritual love, or material, or physical love?”, don’t ask yourself this question. Discrimination leads to discrimination. Love doesn’t need any name, category or definition. Love is a world itself. Either you are in, at the center…or you are out, yearning.
I find true peace when I turn within. There, in the stillness of sweet Spirit, I enter the Silence and rest in the presence of profound love.
Again, Fr. Richard Rohr: “…spirituality and action are connected from the very beginning and can never be separated. Some people set out to act first, and their inner experience is given to them on the journey itself. Others have an inner experience that then leads them into action. It does not matter on which side you begin, but eventually action and spirituality must meet and feed one another. When prayer is authentic, it will always lead to actions of mercy; when actions of mercy are attempted at any depth, they will always drive you to prayer.”
“Whatever you do may seem insignificant to you, but it is most important that you do it.” Mahatma Gandhi
What happens when Spirit talks and we don’t act? It’s called a Spiritual 2 x 4. I’ve had a few and believe me, you do not want to experience it. Take steps that Spirit is asking of you.
And where do we start? I have a bumper sticker that suggest this: Think Good Thoughts: Words become action, actions become habits, habits become character, character becomes destiny.
I have it at my kitchen sink so I can be reminded often.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “We may never be strong enough to be entirely nonviolent in thought, word and deed. But we must keep nonviolence as our goal and make strong progress towards it.”
100 years ago, the Fillmores created “A GOOD WORD CLUB”
Rules for Admission were:
- Members are admitted upon request
- There is no charge for membership or dues
- Members agree to avoid subjects of negativity and anger for a period of one month.
- Members are expected to report in one month
- Each member is requested to spread the word.
- To speak daily for one month:
“Let there be Good Words on earth and let them begin with me.”
- I believe that there is power in united effort.
- I believe in the power of the spoken word and I realize that I am held accountable for even my lightest words.
- I desire to be a member of the Good Word Club that I may unite in supporting others as well as myself to speak only good, true words & to participate in actions that support those Good Words.
- I agree to guard my conversations against all words of gossip, anxiety, foolishness, impurity, untruthfulness, crime, fear, nagging, complaining, sickness, poverty, vengeance, and anger, and to turn them toward words of trust, wisdom, goodness, health, prosperity, praise, joy, and goodwill.
- I will abide by the rules of the Good Words Club for a period of no less than one month and if I notice that I am not using Good Words or Good Actions, I will take a deep breath and start over again; for I know that it is that simple to start anew, to begin again.
- I will, at the end of one month of participation, send a report of the changes I have personally experienced from being willing to participate in this Good Word Pledge.
I am not suggesting you do something so formal, but just remember who you truly are; and if you wish to try this, let me know how you are doing and what changes you notice.
These quotes from MLK – Remember. “Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
And from Mahatma Gandhi: Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.
Remember, not choosing, is choosing.
I am not being political in any way. No party or person other than the quotes were mentioned here. This is not a political issue, it is a people issue, a national issue, a world issue.
We do what is ours to do to the best of our ability.
That is what this is all about…what you do after you walk out the door.
I love this phrase that has been a part of my evening reading all month: I am the place where god stands forth in the world as myself