Be the peace and nonviolence we want to see in the world
The Season for Nonviolence celebrates the work and philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., both distinguished leaders regarding peace and nonviolence. Established in 1998, “the season” begins with the anniversary of the assassination of Gandhi on January 30, ending on the April 4th anniversary of the assassination of King. But we can celebrate nonviolence beyond the official season.
There are several dimensions of peace and nonviolence. One philosophy relates to self-care and inner peace while the other philosophy refers to achieving peace within our communities, nation and the world. You can’t have one without the other.
During the pandemic much has been written about self-care, mindfulness, meditation and other practices to achieve inner peace. It is important to achieve inner peace to help us create the space to live our values, achieve our goals, experience happiness and joy, and maintain our physical, mental, and spiritual being.
From a spiritual perspective, we are reminded to “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which suppresses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds.” (Philippians 3:6)
Without peace, too often, individuals live from an ego-consciousness that focuses on power and control, achieves at the expense of others, and has no respect for persons.
Gandhi employed nonviolent resistance to lead a campaign for India’s independence and later led movements for civil rights and freedom. While Gandhi is credited with saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” Gandhi actually said, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.”
Gandhi’s work inspired King's philosophy of nonviolence. In King’s 1967 speech and book, "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community," King states “we must first honestly recognize where we are now.” He calls upon leaders to join forces and bridge the gulf to ensure peace. King advocated for human rights, nonviolence and a sense of hope and peace.
Each of us can search our own consciousness to examine how we can enhance our inner peace and how we can add to the peace within our community, which ultimately impacts the nation and our world.
The teachings of both leaders should be explored and talked about to gain greater understanding of peace and nonviolence. We should be encouraged to work towards the greater good of peace and nonviolence. Incidences across our nation reflect the need for individuals and leaders to come together to end conflicts, brutality, prejudices and injustice and seek to build bridges through nonviolent means.
The Association for Global New Thought promotes the Season for Nonviolence and suggests we practice peace, hope and nonviolence. It suggests simple activities such as displaying courage, smiling, showing appreciation, educating oneself, showing that you care for yourself and others and other activities devoted to inner and outer peace. (See agnt.today/season-for-nonviolence).
As stated by the scholar Hillel the Elder, and made popular by several politicians, the question is: “If not now, when?”
Let’s start practicing peace and nonviolence. It begins with each of us.
Gerry Tucker is a writer and a professional career and life coach and educator.