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BK Blog Post
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.
“The humility of a satyagrahi knows no bounds. He does not let slip a single opportunity for settlement, and he does not mind if any one therefore looks upon him as timid.” ~ Gandhi, Satyagraha in South Africa, p. 265
We sense that Gandhi is here speaking from “bitter personal experience,” as he said elsewhere. His penetrating ability to see into any situation to its essentials, for example its element of human dignity, and his egolessness, enabled him to compromise on everything but those essentials to such a remarkable degree that his closest followers were often left behind, and sometimes doubted his judgment if not his courage. There seems to be a law (which he well understood) that this relentless clinging to essentials reduced or eliminated the bitterness in a conflict, while we so often today are unable to because we make symbols (of “me vs. you”) out of inessentials. So this hard lesson is one of the most valuable a would-be satyagrahi can learn.
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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.