Heart-prayer: 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.

Heart-prayer: Daily Metta

“Worship or prayer is not to be performed with the lips but with the heart.” ~ Gandhi, Mind, p. 78

The hallmark of mysticism wherever it arises is its recognition of inner realities, the priority of states of mind over outward acts (though no one disputes their importance). What we call principled nonviolence actually springs from the same vision: even when persuasion has failed and we have to force others to do something or stop doing something, if it is done with a lively concern for their well-being there will be some kind of force behind it which we often cannot see but, he would insist, will work its effect somewhere on some level. This effect often shows up down the road, and sometimes we can infer the connection. When Rabbi Heschel said that in marching with Martin Luther King, Jr. he was “praying with his feet,” he was referring to this connection between principled nonviolence and heart-prayer.

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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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