The Thought for Today is SERVICE

DAY 57 Mar. 27: The thought for today is SERVICE.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve … you only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.”

How can you serve today?

What really gives value to anything is its usefulness in serving others. Our life draws its value not from the money we make, or the prizes we win, or the power we wield over others, but from the service we give every day to add a little bit more to the happiness of our family and our community.

And when you serve, do it without thinking of getting anything in return. Do it as a service to the universe, not reluctantly, but with joy. By doing so, you are a model to others, and add to a culture of nonviolence.

Today: I will volunteer a minimum of two hours this week with an organization of my choice and share my commitment with at least one person. I will do one thing today to help somebody at home, at school or work, or in my community, and then write a paragraph about the experience.

The Thought for Today is SELF-SUFFICIENCY

DAY 56 Mar. 26: The thought for today is SELF-SUFFICIENCY.

People need the dignity of work and the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families. Economic self-sufficiency is a requirement for a nonviolent world.

“Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency.”
-“Mahatma” Gandhi

For Gandhi, economic self-sufficiency – symbolized by the spinning wheel – was a vital element of independence from colonial rule and from oppressive economic conditions.

Today: I will discover the satisfaction of making something for myself instead of buying something – and from spending time in self-sufficient quiet reflection or meditation. If I know someone who is looking for employment, I will offer to assist them with a resume, an application, making phone calls, or practice interviewing.

The Thought for Today is RESPONSIBILITY

DAY 55 Mar. 25: The thought for today is RESPONSIBILITY.

The quality of your community starts with you. Take responsibility wherever you are. Whatever we are today is the result of what we have thought, spoken, and done in all the previous moments before now. The responsibility for both present and future is in our own hands.

If we live right today, then tomorrow will be right. This applies to our physical, emotional and spiritual life; we each have the ultimate responsibility for our choices.

Today: I will pick up trash that is not my own, whether at home, at the office or on the street. If there is a conflict present in my life, I will take responsibility for my part in the conflict.

The Thought for Today is GIVING

DAY 54 Mar. 24: The thought for today is GIVING.

Practice generously giving by sharing time, talent, energy and material resources with others. Whatever you give, do it without thinking of getting anything in return. Do it as a service, not reluctantly, but with joy. That is a real gift.

Whatever you give,
be sure it is from the heart:
“Not in what we give,
but what we share,
For the gift without the giver is bare.”

Today: I will clean out my closet, bureau drawers, or garage and give away things I’m not using. I will give my time to a volunteer organization and my financial resources to a cause that supports and practices nonviolence.

The Thought for Today is ACTION

DAY 53 Mar. 23: The thought for today is ACTION.

“Each of us can work to change a small portion of events and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation” said Robert Kennedy.

Imagine what actions Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy would be taking if they were among us today.

Truly nonviolent action is centered in love and compassion. Actions speak louder than words, it is said, yet it is not so much loudness as clarity and truth that matters; a gentle action can be far more powerful than a forceful one.

So, too, the smallest actions – those closest to home – can be more meaningful than those expressed from a distance.

Today: I will explore actions from the heart I can take today to express my commitment to peace and nonviolence – in both my personal life and in the public domain. I will find a way to make one small change that will contribute to the well being of my home, school, workplace or community.

The Thought for Today is EQUALITY

DAY 52 Mar. 22: The thought for today is EQUALITY.

Have you ever noticed the groups of people who are under-represented in your activities and lifestyle? The Constitution of the United States says that all people are equal, and all people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Do you think everyone in our community is treated equally? If not, what can you do to change this?

“Unless man is committed to the belief that all mankind are his brothers, then he labors in vain and hypocritically in the vineyards of equality.” -Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

When you recognize as your equals those with whom you disagree, true opportunities for dialogue emerge – opportunities that are denied when you think of yourself as better than, or less than, others. Martin Buber wrote about the “I-Thou” connection, the ultimate equality, and the place from which nonviolence originates.

Today: I will be mindful of ways that I see myself as better than others. When I listen to people today, I will listen to them as equals; when I speak, I will speak to others as equals. I will enrich my life by considering how I can invite different people and unusual experiences into my life today.

The Thought for Today is ADVOCACY

DAY 51 Mar. 21: The thought for today is ADVOCACY.

“When someone stands up to violence” says Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, “a force for change is released. Every action for peace requires someone to exhibit the courage to challenge violence and inspire love.”

Thich Nhat Hanh’s life is about nonviolence, and ours can be too.

When we choose to be an advocate for nonviolence and decide right now that we will be the one to stop the violence, we release peace into the world.

Today: I will be an ally. Without blaming or judging others, I will listen from my heart, and speak out with love for those who are disrespected, abused or not listened to. I will find out how I can be an advocate in current conflicts, such as in The Sudan.

The Thought for Today is CHOICE

DAY 50 Mar. 20: The thought for today is CHOICE.

Be aware of any jokes or remarks that show disrespect toward ethnic groups, women or men, classes of people, religious groups, gays or lesbians.

By being considerate of every person’s dignity and by choosing not to participate in disrespectful communication, I am contributing to a nonviolent society.

“The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny – it is the light that guides your way.” -Heraclitus

Do you think the statement “We always have a choice” is true? Do you ever think that you don’t have a choice? Do you ever think you must be violent? Can you always choose nonviolence?

Today: I will write about the choices I face throughout the day and on how they translate my commitment to nonviolence into my thoughts, words and actions.

The Thought for Today is HONOR

DAY 49 Mar. 19: The thought for today is HONOR.

“Those who are good and pure in conduct are honored wherever they go. The good shine like the Himalayas, whose peaks glisten above the rest of the world even when seen from a distance. ” -The Buddha

People who are as described by Buddha, who work for the welfare of others, will be very deeply loved, respected and honored wherever they go. It is a simple law of human nature that we love the highest, that we emulate such people, and we want to lead the kind of life they lead.

This is the saving grace of human nature: when we see someone who is patient, kind, forgiving, and forbearing, we recognize their nonviolent ways, because we too, have those qualities. As we honor them, we honor ourselves.

Today: A simple way to raise my awareness of honoring others is to do so at mealtime. Before each meal today, I will stop to think about all the people involved with the food I eat and I will silently say to them, “I honor you.” Likewise, I will bless and honor the earth for its abundance.

The Thought for Today is ECOLOGY

DAY 48 Mar. 18: The thought for today is ECOLOGY.

Gandhi said “To forget how to dig the earth and tend the soil is to forget ourselves.”

Individuals like you and me who make the final decisions about what is bought and sold in the stores, how much carbon dioxide is pumped into the atmosphere, and what is dumped into the sea. Each of us can begin to heal the environment right away by changing our daily habits.

And what about our internal environment, which is as real as the one we see around us? This internal environment has a powerful effect on the external environment: the way we think affects the way we treat the earth.

When we purify this inner environment, we are not only making ourselves more secure and fulfilled, but we are also making an important contribution to the health of Mother Earth.

Nonviolence extends from ourselves, not just to our brothers and sisters, but to the earth as well.

Today: I will practice recycling by using at least one recycled product and by recycling a product. I will reduce, reuse and recycle the products I use.

The Thought for Today is DISARMAMENT

DAY 47 Mar. 17: The thought for today is DISARMAMENT.

What if we lived in a world where there were no weapons? What if we used the resources for developing weapons for other projects? What if we really did beat swords into plowshares?

Imagine such a world for yourself and your family, because until be believe it is possible, it cannot become a reality. Peace and nonviolence, does, and must, begin with each and every one of us.

Today: I will have a conversation with someone today about what the world would be like if there were no weapons, nor any need for them. I will define new uses for the resources freed-up by not developing weapons.

The Thought for Today is COMPASSION

DAY 46 Mar. 16: The thought for today is COMPASSION.

Mother Teresa implored us to “find someone who thinks he is alone and let him know that he is not.”

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” -The 14th Dalai Lama

A human being is part of the whole, called by us “universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
-Albert Einstein

Compassion is about both relieving suffering and about celebration (which also relieves suffering by putting it in a context of gratitude). With compassion comes a greatness of heart. Compassion arises when we allow our heart to be touched by the pain and needs of others.

Today: I will engage compassion to lead my actions, my words and my life.