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  Conceptual Framework for Training in Nonviolence
By Dr. Rudi Jansma - The Netherlands
(The writer is a strong believer and practitioner of Nonviolent and a who is committed to theosophy. He has written and translated several books, delivered lectures and conducted seminar on theosophy and nonviolence. He has spent most of his time in India, especially in Jaipur.)

Both violence and nonviolence lie dormant in our consciousness. Propelled by circumstances sometimes the consciousness of violence is awakened and sometimes the consciousness of nonviolence is awakened. Since the consciousness of violence is supported by material objects and their consumption, its manifestation appears quite natural.

The consciousness of ahimsa (nonviolence) is the consciousness of self-restraint and renunciation. It doesn't get support from the external world, hence its awakening depends on specific efforts.

Specific experiments in the use of violence do not succeed without training. Today there are many centres in the world which impart training in violence. Some of them are being run in the name of national security while others are being operated with a specific purpose of gaining some benefits or advantages. We must admit that violence cannot take an aggravated and barbaric form without intensive training.

It is also an absolute truth that without training the consciousness of nonviolence can neither be awakened nor developed. The life today is full of problems which need solutions. Nonviolence is a solution. What we need is its systematic training.

Training in nonviolence is essential for all. It is necessary for the poor so that the tension generated by the lack of basic needs may not drive them to violence. It is equally necessary for the rich so that tension created by indulgence and luxury may not propel them into violent actions.

Hunger, poverty, want of the basic needs of life and unemployment are the causes of violence generated by circumstances. Avesh (a fit of a strong emotion) is the inner cause of violence. There are two kinds of lifestyle :

1. A lifestyle dominated by avesh it is a lifestyle that incites and promotes violence.
2. A lifestyle regulated by peace and even tenor of life - it is a lifestyle that leads to the growth of nonviolence.

The participants of a nonviolence training camp are taught the techniques to control strong emotions. They are helped to practise and master these techniques. It provides a solution for one aspect of the problem.

Training in nonviolence without training in the tools of self-employment and training in the tools of self-employment without training in nonviolence are both unable to solve the problem of violence.

The problem of violence can be solved only when both nonviolence and bread join hands together. That is why both these aspects have been included in the course module of nonviolence training. The experiment of training in nonviolence should be carried out first at the individual level, then at family level and finally at the level of social and institutional consciousness. On the basis of this formula all the sections of society can live a life of peaceful co-existence.

Affluence is no less a cause of violence than poverty. When the rich people indulge in exploitation, excessive consumption and ostentation, it foments reactive violence. Though these acts of rich persons do not become the direct cause of violence, however they become strong factors for indirect violence. One aspect of nonviolence training is limiting consumption and renouncing the excess of wealth. (The complete structure of nonviolence training is based on this very concept)
  Cracked Pot Friends
(Shared By: "Oswald" oswald_wami@yahoo.com)
An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots,each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.

One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.

But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.

'I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.'

The old woman smiled, 'Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?'

'That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.'

For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.

Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.'

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.

You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

SO, to all of my cracked pot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

  Happy and Content Farmer
There was a farmer in Africa who was happy and content. He was happy because he was content. He was content because he was happy.One day a wise man came to him and told him about the glory of diamonds and the power that goes along with them. The wise man said, “If you had a diamond the size of your thumb, you could have your own city. If you had a diamond the size of your fist, you could probably own your own country. ” And then he went away.

That night the farmer couldn’t sleep. He was unhappy and he was discontent. He was unhappy because he was discontent and discontent because he was unhappy. The next morning he made arrangements to sell off his farm, took care of his family and went in search of diamonds.

He looked all over Africa and couldn’t find any. He looked all through Europe and couldn’t find any. When he got to Spain, he was emotionally, physically and financially broke. He got so disheartened that he threw himself into the Barcelona River and committed suicide.

Back home, the person who had bought his farm was watering the camels at a stream that ran through the farm. Across the stream, the rays of the morning sun hit a stone and made it sparkle like a rainbow. He thought it would look good on the mantle piece. He picked up the stone and put it in the living room. That afternoon the wise man came and saw the stone sparkling. He asked, “Is Hafiz back?” The new owner said, “No, why do you ask?” The wise man said, “Because that is a diamond. I recognize one when I see one.”

The man said, no, that’s just a stone I picked up from the stream. Come, I’ll show you. There are many more.” They went and picked some samples and sent them for analysis. Sure enough, the stones were diamonds. They found that the farm was indeed covered with acres and acres of diamonds.

What is the moral of this story? There are five morals:

1. When our attitude is right, we realize that we are all walking on acres and acres of diamonds. Opportunity is always under our feet. We don’t have to go anywhere. All we need to do is recognize it.
2. The grass on the other side always looks greener.
3. While we are dyeing the grass on the other side, there are others who are dyeing the grass on our side. They would be happy to trade places with us.
4. When people don’t know how to recognize opportunity, they complain of noise when it knocks.
5. The same opportunity never knocks twice. The next one may be better or worse, but it is never the same one.

 

  THE CONFLICT ICEBERG - by Cinnie Noble
Conflict Management Coach, Mediator, Lawyer, Trainer (CINERGY Conflict Coaching)
The metaphor of an iceberg has commonly been used as a metaphor about conflict. This is on the basis that there are things above the surface that show themselves and then, there is all that is going on underneath. Compared to conflict, some things are obvious to the disputants (and often others) that reflect the dynamic between them, the issues in dispute, and other aspects of the existing dissension. These are above the water ‘line’.

Below the water line is much more. There are hopes, expectations, emotions, needs, values, beliefs, and other deeply held views and feelings. Our individual and collective histories that we bring to the issues in dispute are in the mass below the surface, too. While, for all intents and purposes, this underlying mass appears to be unnoticed or remains unspoken, it has an enormous impact on the interaction. Indeed, it is an integral part of the conflict and who we are within it, within ourselves, and within the relationship.

Yes, some things may be best left unexplored or untouched. However, without increased self-discovery of what is below the surface, we miss the opportunity to better understand and reconcile our motivations and expectations. And to consider what ought to be shared and discussed, and what needs to remain dormant to reach the optimum outcome.

For these ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions), consider a conflict in which you see or feel that only the tip of the iceberg is showing itself.

  • What about the conflict do you think is fully evident to you and the other person?
  • What lies beneath that is evident for you but is not likely evident to the other person?
  • What concerns you that may be going on for the other person that is not evident to you?
  • What outcome do you want?
  • Why is that outcome important to you?
  • What do you want to leave below the surface?
  • How will that help you reach the outcome you want?
  • What is there to be gained for the other person if you leave that below the surface?
  • What may the other person want to leave below the surface? Why do you suppose?
  • Thinking about all this now, what needs to come to the surface to reach the optimum outcome - even though it may be challenging for you and/or the other person?
What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here

  The Power Of Non-Violence - M. K. Gandhi
Prepared By: Muhammed Muzzammil Cader. Source: The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi
Non-violence
in its dynamic condition means conscious suffering. It does not mean meek submission to the will of the evil-doer, but it means the pitting of one's whole should against the will of the tyrant. Working under this law of our being, it is possible for a single individual to defy the whole might of an unjust empire to save his honour, his religion, his soul and lay the foundation for that empire's fall or its regeneration.

Active Force
The non-violence of my conception is a more active and more real fighting against wickedness than retaliation whose very nature is to increase wickedness. I contemplate a mental and, therefore, a moral opposition to immoralities. I seek entirely to blunt the edge of the tyrant's sword, not by putting up against it a sharper-edged weapon, but by disappointing his expectation that I would be offering physical resistance. The resistance of the should that I should offer instead would elude him. It would at first dazzle him, and at last compel recognition from him, which recognition would not humiliate him but would uplift him. It may be urged that this again is an ideal state. And so it is. The propositions from which I have drawn my arguments are as true as Euclid's definitions, which are none the less true because in practice we are unable to even draw Euclid's line on a blackboard. But even a geometrician finds it impossible to get on without bearing in mind Euclid's definitions. Nor may we...dispense with the fundamental propositions on which the doctrine of Satyagraha is based.

I admit that the strong will rob the weak and that it is sin to be weak. But this is said of the soul in man, not of the body. If it be said of the body, we could never be free from the sin of weakness. But the strength of soul can defy a whole world in arms against it. This strength is open to the weakest in body.33

Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man. Destruction is not the law of the humans. Man lives freely by his readiness to die, if need be, at the hands of his brother, never by killing him. Every murder or other injury, no matter for what cause, committed or inflicted on another is a crime against humanity. Nonviolence is like radium in its action. An infinitesimal quantity of it embedded in a malignant growth acts continuously, silently and ceaselessly till it has transformed the whole mass of the diseased tissue into a healthy one. Similarly, even a little of true nonviolence acts in a silent, subtle, unseen way and leavens the whole society.

Matchless Bravery
An armed soldier relies on his weapons for his strength. Take away from him his weapons--his gun or his sword, and he generally becomes helpless. But a person who has truly realized the principle of nonviolence has the God-given strength for his weapon and the world has not known anything that can match it. A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. Nonviolence of the strong is any day stronger than that of the bravest soldier fully armed or a whole host.

Exercise in Faith
The hardest metal yields to sufficient heat. Even so the hardest heart must melt before sufficiency of the heat of nonviolence. And there is no limit to the capacity of nonviolence to generate heat.

Every action is a resultant of a multitude of forces even of a contrary nature. There is no waste of energy. So we learn in the books on mechanics. This is equally true of human actions. The difference is that in the one case we generally know the forces at work, and when we do, we can mathematically foretell the resultant. In the case of human actions, they result from a concurrence of forces of most of which we have no knowledge. But our ignorance must not be made to serve the cause of disbelief in the power of these forces. Rather is our ignorance a cause for greeter faith. And nonviolence being the mightiest force in the world and also the most elusive in its working, it demands the greatest exercise of faith. Even as we believe in God in faith, so have we to believe in nonviolence in faith.

Violence like water, when it has an outlet, rushes forward furiously with an overwhelming force. nonviolence cannot act madly. It is the essence of discipline. But, when it is set going, no amount of violence can crush it. For full play, it requires unsullied purity and an unquenchable faith...

A Science
Ahimsa is a science. The word 'failure' has no place in the vocabulary of science. Failure to obtain the expected result is often the precursor to further discoveries.

If the function of himsa is to devour all it comes across, the function of ahimsa is to rush into the mouth of himsa. In an atmosphere of ahimsa one has no scope to put his ahimsa to the test. It can be tested only in the face of himsa.

Violence can only be effectively met by nonviolence. This is an old, established truth...that the weapon of violence, even if it was the atom bomb, became useless when matched against nonviolence. That very few understand how to wield this mighty weapon is true. It requires a lot of understanding and strength of mind. It is unlike what is needed in military schools and colleges. The difficulty one experiences in meeting himsa with ahimsa arises from weakness of mind.

The Deed, not Doer
'Hate the sin and not the sinner' is a precept which, though easy enough to understand, is rarely practised, and that is why the poison of hatred spreads in the world.
This ahimsa is the basis of the search for truth. I am realizing every day that the search is vain unless it is founded on ahimsa as the basis. It is quite proper to resist and attack a system, but to resist and attack its author is tantamount to resisting and attacking oneself. For we are all tarred with the same brush, and are children of one and the same creator, and as such, the divine powers within us are infinite. To slight a single human being is to slight those divine powers, and thus to harm not only that Being but with Him the whole world.

Man and his deed are two distinct things. Whereas a good deed should call forth approbation and a wicked deed disapprobation, the doer of the deed, whether good or wicked, always deserves respect or pity as the case may be.

Those who seek to destroy men rather than manners adopt the latter and become worse than those whom they destroy under the mistaken belief that the manners will die with the men. They do not know the root of the evil.

It is the acid test ofnonviolence that, in a nonviolent conflict, there is no rancour left behind, and in the end the enemies are converted into friends. That was my experience in South Africa, with General Smuts. He started with being my bitterest opponent and critic. Today he is my warmest friend.

The principal implication of ahimsa is that the ahimsa in us ought to soften and not to stiffen our opponents' attitude to us; it ought to melt him; it ought to strike a responsive chord in his heart.

As ahimsa-its, can you say that you practice genuine ahimsa? Can you say that you receive the arrows of the opponent on your bare breasts without returning them? Can you say that you are not angry, that you are not perturbed by his criticism?

By reason of life-long practice of ahimsa, I claim to be an expert in it, though very imperfect. Speaking in absolute terms, the more I practice it the clearer I see how far I am from the full expression of ahimsa in my life. It is his ignorance of this, the greatest duty of man in the world, which makes him say that in this age nonviolence has little scope in the face of violence, whereas I make bold to say that in this age of the Atom Bomb unadulterated nonviolence is the only force that can confound all the tricks put together of violence.

 

 
 
 
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