Strength: 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.

Strength: Daily Metta

“Terrorism and deception are weapons not of the strong but of the weak.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, 2.20.1919

The conception one has of strength and power in nonviolence is often quite the reverse of how we conceive of them in ordinary parlance. There are numerous stories in the Indian epics of heroes who, when they need more strength for a big challenge, will perform a sacrifice or, in secular terms, give something up. That idea of strength-through-renunciation, encoded in religious settings, Gandhi saw as quite real and practical. On one occasion, as we’ve mentioned in another connection, he explained after an apparent defeat: “my surrender was my victory.”  Counter-intuition can go no further! But let’s face it, it worked. None other than Napoleon declared, as his gains through regular “strength” collapsed around him: “The only conquest that abides is self-conquest.”

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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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