Season of Nonviolence
We’ve certainly have witnessed a good reason to encourage us all to delve into the Season for Nonviolence. Almost all last year, and into this year, violence seemed to spring forth from peaceful demonstration, from family violence, from police brutality, from Capital insurgents.
Every year, those of us seeking peace and nonviolence, set aside 64 days to remind us of what a nonviolent society would look like. We are given ways and examples of how we can change our life and the lives of those around us by simply changing our inside and outside behavior to peace.
Nonviolence is defined as: the absence or lack of violence; state or condition of avoiding violence; the policy, practice, or technique of refraining from the use of violence, especially when reacting to or protesting against oppression, injustice, discrimination, or the like.
There is a difference between ending conflict and starting peace. Peace is far more than merely the absence of conflict. All conflicts eventually end, one way or the other, but new conflicts arise.
Peace is the condition in which conflicts are dealt with and resolved in respectful, life-affirming ways. Peace is not the absence of conflict. Given the complexity of the world, that is an impossibility. Peace is the situation in which people have tools for resolving conflict in nondestructive, productive ways.
“We learn to practice nonviolence one step at a time, one choice at a time, one day at a time. This is how each of us, in our own way, move the world in the direction of peace.
I found an article relating peace to body movement. It was extremely interesting to me because as a junior at West Chester University, taking my practicum in Elementary Physical Education, I was introduced to Body Awareness activities for the Physical Education classes.
So, finding the article by Dr. Paul Linden about relating body awareness to peace making brought a smile to my face.
Dr. Linden states, “Peace must be based on peacefulness, which is a body state. Our bodies are designed to function in a loving, empowered way. Fear and anger are weakening to the body and the whole self. Actions that are built on the feelings of fear and anger will create, escalate, and perpetuate conflict.”
Dr. Linden further stated; “I would say that peacefulness is the essence of moral behavior. Morality is not some abstraction imposed from without. Morality is built into the very structure of the body. Morality comes from an integrated body state of power and love. Embodied peacemaking is an expression of the fundamental moral structure of the body. The method of peacemaking …is not based on philosophy and beliefs but simply on how the human body works. Embodied peacemaking is perhaps the most important application of the body. Paul Linden, Ph.D REACH OUT Body Awareness Training For Peacemaking— Five Easy Lessons
The essence of conflict is physical contraction, and the essence of embodied peacemaking is the deliberate replacement of contraction with expansion. Fear, anger, distrust, egotism, jealousy, greed, deceitfulness, and other negative feelings involve compression of the breath, muscles and posture. Compression creates physical weakness and instability. It creates narrow perception and narrow thinking.
Kindness, sensitivity, generosity, truthfulness, assertiveness and other positive feelings involve openness and freedom in the breath, muscles and posture. Openness creates sensitivity, power, and compassion. It creates open perception and open thinking.
The Season for Nonviolence is a perfect opening for Dr. Linden’s concepts. The
Season’ is all about kindness, generosity, truthfulness and other positive emotions.
A Season for Nonviolence is a global grassroots campaign dedicated to raising awareness about the healing and transforming power of nonviolence.
Nonviolence begins by learning how to be less violent and more compassionate with ourselves.
We learn by building the courage to speak and act with a respect, honor and reverence for our own being.
The Season for Nonviolence tells us “We learn to practice nonviolence one step at a time, one choice at a time, one day at a time. Through our daily nonviolent choices and action, the noble and courageous spirit within each of us expresses itself as the skills, wisdom and character of a nonviolent human being. This is how we each, in our own way, move the world in a direction of peace.”
Ask yourself: In the midst of conflict or challenge, how do we “be peace”? How do we DO peace? How do my actions contribute to peace?
The good thing, no, the GREAT thing is as we grow in consciousness, we create a more loving and peaceful world…our own and the Universe. We are working for more awareness of our consciousness.
This might help…
Picture of incomplete circle…
Anyone of you feel an urge to complete the circle?
In the Unity booklet, “The Way to Inner Peace” there are many stories and helpful ideas regarding ways to inner peace.
One is by Rev. Don Lansky. He tells of a Psychology experiment where a partial circle is drawn on the board.
When students look at the circle, rather than seeing a nearly complete circle, their eyes naturally go to the missing piece—the incompleteness.
Human beings are wired to both recognize the possibility of completing the circle and to experience the tension when it’s incomplete. In the classes, someone (who can’t stand it for a second longer) almost always goes up to the blackboard before the class is over to fill in the missing piece.
(Anyone here feel that urge?)
We can apply this lesson to our own lives. Are we choosing to see wholeness and perfection, or are we fixated on what is missing, what is awry?
What if we see our challenging behaviors, experiences, attitudes, thoughts, relationships, finances, health, and even spiritual development as a validation of who we are, rather than a shortcoming or failure?
What if our discomfort is our deep-seated urge to realize the wholeness that we innately know we already are?
We may sometimes feel that the universe is conspiring to rob us of our peace and wholeness. It happened to Jesus when he was tempted during his 40 days in the wilderness. And Rev. Lanksey says it happened repeatedly to one of his most respected heroes—Bugs Bunny.
I think most of us can recall Bugs Bunny cartoons…
All Bugs ever wanted was to live in peace. He would be taking in the sun on his chaise lounge at the top of his rabbit hole, wearing his sunglasses, sipping a tall glass of carrot juice, and singing a song — happy as could be.
Suddenly, Elmer Fudd would be shooting at him and trying to bag him for dinner. Bugs was incredulous at first. Elmer would throw Bugs into a basting pan and Bugs thought he was just getting a hot bath. But, finally, he would get it! Elmer was trying to cook him.
Then the chase would begin. Bugs Bunny was like a great aikido master. He never lost his cool or his sense of humor, and he always used his opponent’s energy to outsmart them. Because of his equanimity, Bugs was victorious and able to return to his own peace and privacy—which was all he ever wanted anyway.
When we feel like external circumstances are threatening our internal and external peace, we can learn a lot from Jesus, Buddha, the great masters and sages throughout history, and even Bugs Bunny. The truth is, we are already whole and complete. Nothing is missing. There is nothing to find because nothing was ever lost.
Author Mark Twain said this another way: “I am an old man and I’ve lived through many trials and tribulations, most of which never really happened.”
At this time in human history, we are called to a boldness of faith through prayer, meditation, the practices of gratitude and forgiveness, listening and following our inner guidance, and practicing the presence of God in every moment.
Several years ago, on one of the space shuttle voyages, Sultan bin Salman Al-Saud, one of the astronauts who was part of an international crew, said that during the first few days in orbit, everyone tried to find their own countries. By the third day they were just identifying continents, and after five days, all they saw was earth.
Like the astronauts, we all have a deep yearning within to see wholeness—to see and experience peace. That peace is already within you—right here, right now. The truth is, we are already whole and complete. Nothing is missing.
If you are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.
Why did you spill the coffee?
“Well because someone bumped into me, of course!”
You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.
Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.
“Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.”
Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.
*So we have to ask ourselves… “what’s in my cup?”
When life gets tough, what spills over?
Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?
Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?
Nonviolence means not only avoiding external physical violence of the spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, you refuse to hate him
“Our goal is to create a beloved community.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
10 Commandments of Nonviolence
- Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
- Remember that the nonviolence movement seeks justice and reconciliation – not victory.
- Walk and Talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
- Pray daily to be used by God in order that all people might be free.
- Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all people might be free.
- Observe with both friend and for the ordinary rules of courtesy.
- Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
- Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
- Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
- Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.
If you search Season for Nonviolence, you will find many other suggestions for peace and nonviolence.
I encourage you to take a look. Or you can visit our FB page, and each day I will post the reading and suggestion for the day.
Connie Mohn is also holding a daily call discussing these topics in a little more depth. If you are interested in participating in the call, please let me know.
These activities started yesterday, January 30th.
And please tune in next month as we celebrate Black History Month with our gang, Leroy, Diane, Angela and Carolyn each have a gift of message for us.
DO ONE THING for a Better World
GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
Today we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was a man who believed in peace and worked hard for equality for all. His civil rights movement began one summer in 1935 when he was 6 years old. Two of his friends did not show up to play ball with him and he choose to go look for them. When he went to one boys’ house, their mother met him at the door and told him, rudely, that her son would not be coming out to play with him that day or any day …her son was white.
Of course, that was not the last time King experienced discrimination. Because of his intelligence and his determination to excel, King was able to skip the 9th and 12th grades. He excelled in public speaking, surprise!
One evening after taking top prize in a debate tournament, he and his teacher were riding home on the bus discussing the event when the driver ordered them to give up their seats for two white passengers who had just boarded.
King was infuriated and wanted to remain seated in protest, but his teacher convinced him to obey the law and they stood for the remainder of the 90-mile trip.
King later recalled, “That night will never leave my memory as long as I live. It was the angriest I had ever been in my life. Never before or afterward, can I remember myself being so angry.”
And, later, we know he helped with the bus boycott that Rosa Parks instigated when she refused to give up her seat in 1955.
We all know most of Dr. King’s life story. How he went from Baptist minister and activist to become the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. King is best known for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience, inspired by his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.
So, educated minds want to know, what do you think Dr. King would think of the happenings on Wednesday, a week ago, when our Capital was sieged by followers of President Trump?
King was a man of peace. He encountered violence during some protests, but not started by the ‘peaceful’ marchers themselves. We can recall the late Rep. Lewis’ encounter with police on a peaceful march where he was struck in the head and thus experienced a serious concussion.
Obviously, I would venture to say that Dr. King would speak adamantly against the violence and the insurgency of the rioters.
I suspect he would agree with Rosemary Fillmore Rheas’ ideas on angry people: “The world has been changed for the better by men and women who have been angry, angry about life conditions, prejudices, bigotries, the seeming inequalities of life. They turned their anger into creative energy and vaccines were discovered. Laws were passed, philosophies were born, schools and charities were established, books were written, and symphonies were composed.”
The key point being “they turned their anger”, not that they brought their anger with them into those fields of creativity but that they turned it into creativity.
Unfortunately, the anger and frustration on that fateful Wednesday was only encouraged into rage instead of peaceful creativity.
One of Dr. King’s books is entitled, “Where do we go from here: Chaos or Community”. One of the central themes is hope.
We spoke of hope last week. The Metaphysical meaning of hope from the Revealing Word-Hope is the expectation of good in the future. It is a quality (good as far as it goes) of sense mind because it is subject to time.
Just as we were seeing hope for the pandemic, we must face that the division in our country is even deeper and possibly, wider.
If our country wishes to move forward from what has recently been a series of challenges to our health, our welfare and our democracy, we need hope, and so much more. We need to ask the citizens of our great country to “turn their anger” to creative ways for all people to be free and equal in all ways.
The very principle of One Presence and One Power is premised on equality and social justice. Spirituality cannot be separated from politics.
If we believe in our Principles and LIVE THEM, then we must…we MUST find what is ours to do’ and then step out and up and do it.
Our country needs people with vision on ALL levels to take their gifts and place them as the hands and feet of the God of their understanding and walk it.
Dr. Gary Simmons tells us, “Your soul is a force within you that seeks to push you toward ever-increasing levels of spiritual growth and personal integrity.
Resistance to this pressure produces discomfort, stress, and ultimately the storms of your life.”
I’m guessing some of the storms we are seeing, and feeling are from that resistance.
But if we recall the words of 7 or 9 from Star Trek, “Resistance is futile.”
Or from our Unity history, “What you resist, persists.”
Much better to get into the flow of our Source, connect with the Higher Self within you and when you do, you will know what is yours to do.
People, it does not have to be on the level of the President or Governor. It starts here, in our homes, in our communities.
Look at the ways you can, first, connect with YOUR higher self…prayer, meditation, contemplation, connection with people of your same ideals.
Then look to your household…. how can you aid in the peace within your home, more togetherness, more understanding, more compassion…brings more peace.
Then take that to your communities. Where can you aid in bringing peace to your community? We have outreach. We have our quarterly roadside clean-up. We have Sunday Services with music and Message. We have weekly Meditations on Mondays at 6:30 PM.
We have classes scheduled, both Unity Basics and Lessons in Truth. We have a weekly email send to you with information and inspiration, thank you Connie.
Our Prayer Chaplains and Board members are reaching out to you, staying connected, letting you know that Unity of Coastal Delaware is still here, and we are strong.
And in this Pandemic, we are a community that is doing our part to stop it by following guidelines…wearing a mask when required, keeping distance when necessary, washing our hands and using sanitizer as needed and now…getting the vaccine.
We all do our part, in a nonviolent way. Dr. King would be proud of our community.
One last mention of Rev. Dr. King…his birthday didn’t become a federal holiday until 1986, nearly 20 years after it was introduced to Congress, per the King Center. Even then, it faced an upward battle for all states to recognize the holiday, only getting nationally recognized in 2000.
To this day, it collides in Alabama and Mississippi with Robert E. Lee Day, which honors the Confederate general.
This was the first holiday around a national figure who is not a president, and who is African American. Many in Congress did not want to recognize an African American that was thought of as a troublemaker by some in his day.”
Nov. 3, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill marking the third Monday of January, as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, according to the center. The holiday was to begin in 1986.
In January 1986, the first national Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was observed. It took a while, but we honor this great man today.
GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
Before I move forward with the Message for this morning, I feel I need to say something about what happened Wednesday in our Nation’s Capital.
I am certain that most of us were and maybe still are shocked and dismayed at the actions of those fellow Americans who choose to attack our Capital and place in danger those people who were and are there to do the business of our Government, as well as in-danger democracy itself.
I ask you all to remember the Unity Principles as you connect with your Higher Self and work through your feelings and find the answer to our question: “What is mine to do?”
Remember, the power of God is greater than any human circumstances.
I will be talking more about this next week when we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Daily Quarantine Questions
Hello, my friends, and it’s great to be with you this morning. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that we are finally into year 2021. Our hopes are all wrapped up in this year…
But what is hope?
Dictionary says: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best; a particular instance of this feeling.
Metaphysical meaning of hope from the Revealing Word-Hope is the expectation of good in the future. It is a quality (good as far as it goes) of sense mind because it is subject to time.
But isn’t this quote from Barack Obama wonderfully full of what hope most likely means to many of us:
“Hope is not blind optimism. It is not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shrinking from a fight.
Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it.
Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.”
I just thought that was too wonderful not to share. And it is a good introduction to today’s Message…Daily Quarantine Questions.
We are into our 11th month of the pandemic if we start with February. Ten months of various forms of quarantine. We have adjusted somewhat to the demands a pandemic makes on our lives. We have prayed for those who have been infected by the virus, rejoiced for those who have recovered. And cried and prayed for those who have not recovered.
We have learned to have respect and even caring for those on every front line, from First Responders to grocery clerks to trach collectors to restaurant workers to childcare teachers and schoolteachers and cafeteria workers.
We never thought twice for many of the people who worked during the pandemic while others were safe within their homes. The Service workers still worked as best as they could. The Funeral Directors still tried to treat each death as a person with loved ones. The Ministers still tried to keep in touch with their congregations. The police still tried to have compassion as they interacted with many of their people.
We all did our best…most of the time. Every once and again, the frustration got to us, before we remembered that when we did something that was without the COVID precautions, we were not just potentially harming ourselves, but ANYONE we were near.
SO, we wore our mask, and stayed apart and washed our hands.
And we continue to do that.
But now, we have a light at the end of the tunnel…a slightly long tunnel, but the end just the same.
So, don’t lose hope. Don’t lose the twinkle in your eye and the strength in your heart.
Continue to chat with your contact person. Reach out to the people you know and even maybe someone you don’t. Get in touch with your inner Christ.
Spend some time connecting to our Monday Meditation. All you must do is contact me or Karen Laughman to get linked in.
Read some good books…I can recommend a few good Unity books. I’ll send some suggestions to be placed on the Wednesday email.
Chat with you housemate or friends about what you are thinking about the books you are reading, or even me and these weekly Messages!
Daily Quarantine Questions pic
And here are some more things for you to ponder…
What am I grateful for today?
We talk a lot about how important gratitude is for our spiritual growth.
Gratitude is the heart’s response to life’s infinite blessings.
“Being grateful does not mean that everything is necessarily good. It just means that you can accept it as a gift.”
― Roy T. Bennett
“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness — just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder, Writings to Young Women from Laura Ingalls Wilder: On Wisdom and Virtues
“Gratitude is one of the most powerful human emotions. Once expressed, it changes attitude, brightens outlook, and broadens our perspective.”
― Germany Kent
Who am I checking in on or connecting with today?
It’s so easy to check in with a friend, relative, even neighbor. Maybe you were thinking of a time when we were all together at the Unity Spiritual Center and you smiled as you thought of a friend you met there.
It’s so important to keep in touch with people we know. This is the reason I’ve asked the Board and the Prayer Chaplains to take a few of our people and stay in touch with them.
An email or text is ok, but a call is even better because then you, at the other end of the tin can and string get to hear a voice and exchange what is happening with you and your world.
Give it a try. And next time your contact person calls or emails, get back with them…they need interaction with others too.
Here’s a list of ‘ice-breakers – ideas to help you connect with your friends, neighbors and anyone you wish to connect with.
What expectations of “normal” am I letting go of today?
Let’s face it, we are in for a new normal. Yes, the vaccines are becoming available. And I’m hearing different time frames, but we see an end, either way – spring, summer or fall.
But what will that new normal look like? Some of that is up to you.
Have you looked at what you REALLY need to live? Have you considered what changes to our lives are being done that will affect you?
Already, plastic bags will not be available, so our reusables are required. And we pack them ourselves. That’s a safety change.
We all will probably use hand sanitizer more frequently. And be more aware of sanitizing our surfaces at home and work.
Some people may choose to continue wearing masks, like we would see often in Japan and China.
Think about what your ‘new normal’ will be. What have you determined that you no longer need in your life? Being at home for so much of these last months, we may have discovered a different way to live.
I would love to know what you have discovered.
How am I getting outside today?
This might be easy…take a walk yourself, or with your dog, step out on your porch or deck. Look over that garden and let your mind wonder about spring and flowers. Take a ride in the car with the window open a bit, depending on the weather…run some errands while you are at it!
We are doing so much at home virtually, we might ‘see’ people via ZOOM, but sharing lunch at one end of the table and your friend at the other is so much better. Each bring a lunch, or have it delivered.
You could visit me during office hours too.
Just get out if only to take a deep breath of fresh air!
How am I moving my body today?
I know this is sometimes a difficult thing to do. My joints don’t necessarily want to do what I am asking them to do when I try to move from one place or position to another.
But we also know that moving more is what is needed to keep the ability to move effective.
So, try to get up and move around, even if it’s during TV commercials.
Better still, take a walk, doesn’t matter how far you go. Plan to do some type of movement at least 3-5 times a week.
I walk my dogs as I am able, but also walk on the treadmill.
Let’s all do what we can so when it’s time to get back together at the Center, we all will be there with a big smile.
What beauty am I either creating, cultivating, or inviting today?
This is a great question.
With Christmas come and gone, many of us have removed our colorful decorations. It looks kind of bare, doesn’t it?
What are you going to put in place of all that color?
I have some winter items that I can place around, nowhere near the amount for Christmas, but it fills in a bit of the places where I had some decorations.
And I must admit, I still have my Mothers little Christmas Tree in the dining room. Just can’t feel like putting it away.
But another way to add color is to have plants and flowers in the house. I have a friend, who, every time she visits, it seems, she buys flowers if she goes to Giant for food or coffee.
And I do have plants to add at least green, and sometimes flowers too.
We could also invite our imagination to this question, by adding what are you doing with crafts and hobbies? Knitting, painting, reusing some piece of furniture, puzzles; they all have color to fill the places where Christmas was.
These are good questions for us. I have heard several times, what am I leaving behind when we step into the new ‘normal’?
All these questions are great and we can ponder them now as well as through the week.