Welcome to DAY 4 of our practice. Let’s begin…
Please close your eyes while you take three slow, deep breaths. Then open your eyes and read today’s commitment. When we talk about violence here we are talking about violence in its many forms — not simply physical violence but also emotional, psychological, structural and economic violence. With this pledge we vow to act non-violently in word and deed.
Let the words settle into your being. “In thanksgiving for life, I pledge to overcome VIOLENCE, all of which is rooted in fear, by observing that fighting violence by violence leads to more violence and death and, thus, to foster life by acting NON-VIOLENTLY.”
- Reflect upon Br. David’s claim that “violence…is rooted in fear.” Can you find examples that support this claim? In your own life? In the lives of others? In the world?
- Blame, judgement and domination are forms of violence. Can you see ways in which your behavior might be experienced as violent? Or do you see this behavior in those around you?
- Can you identify the fear behind such behaviors? How might you address your fears with compassion rather than judgement?
- What are some other ways you can take a stand against violence in our world?
- Commit to overcoming violence through cultivating awareness, compassion and action.
“At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.”
If you would like to explore this topic further, you might appreciate:
- Br. David Steindl-Rast’s essay: Five Small Gestures of Gratitude to Counteract Fear and Violence
- A 3-minute video in which children answer the question Why Be Kind?
- William Young’s response to a question in Hope in the Face of Violence
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