It has been a week where I have been more the usually sensitive to images and words of violence in the media and in daily life and, inevitably, on Facebook. I have been shocked and distressed by some of things some people have chosen to share! I am not easily shockable. I've seen and experienced some pretty horrendous stuff. By shocked, I suppose I don't mean that I was so much distressed by the violent ideas as surprised by the people that appeared to be supporting and/or advocating the behaviour. This itself has led to some revealing conversations, some deep reflection and some very interesting reading.
I am very much an advocate of non-violence. This has meanings on a number of levels. At its basic level, it means Peace. On a political level, non-violence is about commitment to non-violent direct action, conflict resolution and protest - the way of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King. And on an interpersonal level, non-violence is about committing to mindful techniques of communication and creative ways of managing conflict.
However I look at it - and believe me I have looked at it - I do struggle to see how anything other than non-violence can be seen as a way forward for humanity.
In this week where the European Union has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (???) I am forced to examine my thoughts around what Peace and non-violence actually mean to people.
|Swami Vishnu's Peace Plane|
photo courtesy of www.sivananda.eu
This is not an Ego trip, simply the reality of the job and it is not a task I hold lightly. As a practitioner and teacher of Yoga, I cannot see how there is any other way to be. Not because Patanjali says it, or Swami Vishnu, or Gandhi, or Martin Luther King, or John Lennon or the Buddha or Jesus. Yes, we have their teachings and their example of how to live Peace. But they are all messengers of Peace. No, there is simply no other way to be, because without it there is no hope and without hope, no future.
Gandhi also said that we should "Be the change you want to see in the world". And so, I am starting with myself.
I choose Peace.