Understanding Nonviolence

Nonviolence: 1) absence or lack of violence; state or condition of avoiding violence. 2) the policy, practice, or technique of refraining from the use of violence, especially. when reacting to or protesting against oppression, injustice, discrimination, or the like.
Dictionary.com Unabridged | Based on the Random House Dictionary

Ahimsa: the practice of non-injury in thought, word and deed to other living beings.
A Glossary of Meditation Terminology | www.mudrashram.com

  • Nonviolence is pacifism – in search of harmony and agreement.
  • Nonviolence is non-aggression – abstention from fighting.
  • Nonviolence is passivity – willing to yield, agree, comply.
  • Nonviolence is peaceableness – inclined or disposed to avoid strife or dissention.
  • Nonviolence avoids – arguments, discord, hostility.

Benefits of Nonviolence

  • Nonviolence assures the survival of man and all living things.
  • Nonviolence teaches love, peace and respect through living example.
  • Nonviolence goes hand and hand with true acceptance of all other beings.
  • Nonviolence promotes listening and understanding of others.
  • Nonviolence exemplifies the sanctity of life.

Acts of Nonviolence in Everyday Life

  • The Bible – Isaiah 2:4
    • "And He will judge between the nations,
    • And will render decisions for many peoples;
    • And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
    • Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
    • And never again will they learn war."
  • Mahatma Ghandi — Although he has been referenced many times in these pages, this remarkable man truly lived his life as someone who embodied these virtues. It is impossible to write about non-violence and not have the topic automatically link to Mahatma Ghandi.
  • John Lennon — Although so well-known for the tremendous partnership with McCartney with regard to the creativity of all the Beatles' sensation, most known and remembered for "Give Peace A Chance" and his stand against war and in favor of non-violence.
  • Leymah Roberta Gbowee — a social worker and peace-building practitioner, advocating non-violence in her role in the Liberian Peace Process, and dedicating her life to improving the lives and the women of Liberia. Because of Gbowee's efforts, Liberians were able to achieve peace after a 14-year civil war.[7] Her story is captured in a 2008 documentary film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell.
  • Positive Parenting — Lead the way. Allow your children the opportunity to speak their minds and hearts freely without fear of punishment. Let them know how loved, valued and accepted they are, even when they are not perfect.

Methods for Achieving Nonviolence

  • Promote Diversity and Acceptance - Arrange a get-together event, specifically with people of various ethnic backgrounds, where children learn to feel comfortable rather than fear people who are different than themselves.
  • Compliment Kindness - Notice and encourage acts of kindness as you see them in everyday life. Praise the kind actions and reinforce those that choose to behave this way.
  • Speak Up – Do not reinforce violence in things like movies, television shows, or for younger children as found in many video games and toys. Do not finance violence by buying them.
  • Fell Compassion and Love for Yourself – Embrace your own emotional pain and keep yourself open to love.
  • Commit to a Gentler way of Speaking – Make this an everyday to everybody thing.

Golden Mean

Violence and cruelty towards any life form

Quotes for Nonviolence

Nonviolence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak…Nonviolence is hard work. It is the willingness to sacrifice. It is the patience to win.
- Cesar Chavez -
Nonviolence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.
- Mahatma Gandhi -
Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence, but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -
Nonviolence is the greatest of all religions.
- Swami Sajahanand -
Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong.
- Mahatma Gandhi -

Recommended Reading

The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peace — by Howard Zinn

Starting all the way back with Buddha and reaching through history up until our present-day war in Afghanistan, Mr. Zinn puts together a wonderful anthology of peace writings and advocacy of non-violence.

Nurturing Nonviolent Children: A Guide for Parents, Educators, and Counselors — by Elsie Jones-Smith

A good compilation of social issues assessment, psychology, and parenting techniques providing self-help techniques for anybody who wants to get involved in positively impacting our youngsters and encouraging the next generation to live in peace.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.

The first thing to be disrupted by our commitment to nonviolence will be not the system but our own lives. James Douglass