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.
Interesting enough, the “season” begins with the anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, ending on the April 4 anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr..
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