Theory of 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.


Theory of Action: Daily Metta

“Let the Gita be for you a mine of diamonds, as it has been to me; let it be your constant guide and friend on life’s way.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma 2, p. 307

A young friend who had been having trouble with her meditation once said to me, “But I still think the Bhagavad Gita is the best book on the planet.” As do I.  Meditating on verses from the Gita sometimes really does make me feel that I have a “guide and friend on life’s way.” I cannot pretend to have gotten it as deeply into me as Gandhi did—far from it—but it never fails to amaze me how this text, probably close to two thousand years old in its present form (the wisdom it puts into verse form must be much older), speaks to our condition. It’s “theory of action,” for example, so precisely carried out by Gandhi, is indeed an infallible guide: choose the right goal, approach it with the right means (nonviolence, of course), and then be spiritually and emotionally detached from the “fruits,” i.e. whatever reward might accrue to you personally. Imagine if we all acted in that spirit!

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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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