The Many Sides of Peace: Christian Nonviolence, the Contemplative Life, and Sustainable Living

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If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, first go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Today Eknath Easwaran continues reflecting on how nonviolence flows from our state of being:. That was a tremendous achievement, but India was essentially a showcase, a stage for the world to see what nonviolence can accomplish in the highly imperfect world of real life.

He gave us tools for resolving conflicts of all kinds, which anyone can learn to use. But it is urgent to understand his message that nonviolence is a way of thinking, a way of life, not a tactic, but a way of putting love to work in resolving problems, healing relationships, and generally raising the quality of our lives. He began with his personal relationships, aware that he could not expect to put out the fires of anger and hatred elsewhere if the same fires smoldered in his own home and heart. His nonviolence is not a political weapon or a technique for social change so much as it is an essential art—perhaps the essential art—of civilization.

In other words, nonviolence is a skill, just like learning to read. Love is a skill. The transformation of anger is a skill.

All these can be learned. Finally, for spiritual seekers of all persuasions, Gandhi showed us that the spiritual life need not mean retiring to a monastery or cave. It can be pursued in the midst of family, community, and a career of selfless service. Even without reference to spirituality, if we look upon the overriding purpose of life as making a lasting contribution to our family and society, Gandhi gave us a higher image for ourselves, a glorification of the innate goodness in the human being, whose joy lies in living for the welfare of all. Embodying Nonviolence Tuesday, September 17, Mohandas Gandhi — used to say that every world religion knows that Jesus taught nonviolence, lived nonviolently, and died a nonviolent death except one: Christianity!

Gandhi took the Gospel and his own Hindu texts seriously. He believed our core identity is union with God and that the fruit of this union is nonviolence. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our very being. Eknath Easwaran — , whom I introduced a few weeks ago , described his first encounter with Gandhi:.

When the cottage door opened, out popped a lithe brown figure of about seventy with the springy step and mischievous eyes of a teenager, laughing and joking with those around him. He was striding off for his evening walk and motioned us to come along. After a while most of the crowd fell away.

With his white shawl flapping and his gawky bare legs he looked like a crane about to take off. I have always been a walker, but I had to keep breaking into a jog to keep up with him. My list of questions was growing. This was a man in his seventies—the twilight of life by Indian standards of those days—burdened daily with responsibility for four hundred million people. He must have lived under intense pressure. What was the source of his apparently endless vitality and good humor? And Sri Krishna replies. They live in wisdom who see themselves in all and all in them, whose love for the Lord of love has consumed every selfish desire and sense craving tormenting the heart.

The Many Sides of Peace

Not agitated by grief or hankering after pleasure, they live free from lust and fear and anger. Fettered no more by selfish attachments, they are not elated by good fortune nor depressed by bad. Such are the seers. They tell us not what to do with our lives but what to be.

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And they are universal. We see essentially the same portrait in all scriptures, reflected in the lives of spiritual aspirants everywhere.

Who Are We and How Are We to Live in this World? - Brayton Shanley - TEDxGeorgeSchool

See M. Learning Nonviolence Monday, September 16, Nonviolent actions are taking place all over the United States and world this week! Ken Butigan recalls the beginnings of his education in nonviolence at the University of San Diego:. In his time of foreign occupation and oppression, Jesus proclaimed a new, nonviolent order rooted in the unconditional love of God. Jesus is the revelation and embodiment of our Nonviolent God, whose sun shines on the good and the evil alike [Matthew ].

I would come to learn therefore that nonviolence was ontological, at the heart of God, the God who created the universe and said that it was good [Genesis 1]. I would come to learn that that nonviolence is actively confronting violence without violence; creatively engaging conflict; and nurturing just, peaceful, and sustainable alternatives. In the s, that included taking nonviolent action to build people-power to support an end to the arms race between the US and the Soviet Union, including public support for arms control agreements and a global Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

In the s and s, that meant building people-power to resist and end US policies stoking war in Nicaragua and El Salvador. Later in the s, that meant being part of a local campaign to build people-power to end policies attacking and harassing homeless people. And in the 21 st century, that has included building movements using nonviolent action to urge a comprehensive just peace in Iraq and end the official policy of torture.

How are you following Jesus as a peace-maker? May nonviolence begin in our hearts and flow through our whole beings. References: [1] Learn more about Campaign Nonviolence at paceebene.

Before you speak of peace, you must first have it in your heart. Francis of Assisi [1]. Nonviolence training has understandably emphasized largely external methods or ways of acting and resisting.

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These are important and necessary, but we must go even deeper. Unless those methods finally reflect inner attitudes, they will not make a lasting difference. We all have to admit that our secret thoughts are often cruel, attacking, judgmental, and harsh. The ego seems to find its energy precisely by having something to oppose, fix, or change.

When the mind can judge something to be inferior, we feel superior.

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We must recognize our constant tendency toward negating reality, resisting it, opposing it, and attacking it in our minds. This is the universal addiction. Authentic spirituality is always first about you —about allowing your own heart and mind to be changed. Who is it that is doing the perceiving?

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Is it your illusory, separate, false self; or is it your True Self, who you are in God? So love is our very nature. Love is our first, middle, and last name. Love is all; not [love as] sentimentality, but love that is self-forgetful and free of self-interest. He never tried to win anything. It means to show love tirelessly, no matter what happens. If you make your enemies your partners, God has succeeded. See Francis of Assisi: Early Documents , vol.

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