Action: Daily Metta

Michael Nagler Posted by Michael Nagler.

Michael is founder and president of the Metta Center for Nonviolence and the author of Our Spiritual Crisis and The Search for a Nonviolent Future, which received a 2002 American Book Award and has been translated into several languages.


Action: Daily Metta

“Nonviolent action, without the cooperation of the heart and the head, cannot produce the desired result.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma 5.132

The second time (of many) that I saw Sir Richard Attenborough’s epic Gandhi it was with a peace-movement friend who turned to me after a moment or two of stunned silence when it was over and said, “I had no idea he was so shrewd.” There is a tendency to regard nonviolence as a kind of sentimental, nice-guy attitude—and nothing more, as though as long as you’re kind you don’t have to be smart. Quite untrue; Gandhi was known to quote the biblical advice that we must be “as cunning as serpents and as gentle as doves.” “Cunning,” not exactly; but shrewd, strategic, thoughtful certainly. What a pity to go through the mental and/or spiritual inner struggle to develop the nonviolent vision and then waste the great advantage it offers by not having a strategy to make it happen outside us. (On the other hand, strategy without inner change has some, but relatively limited effectiveness).

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About Daily Metta

Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence.

Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide.

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