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.

The Thought for Today is MASTERY

DAY 45 Mar. 15: The thought for today is MASTERY.

Labor organizer, Cesar Chavez taught “If you use violence you have to sell part of yourself for that violence. Then you are no longer a master of your own struggle.”

To practice nonviolence you must learn to master your anger. Breathe deeply, silently counting backwards from ten to calm yourself and cool off before you speak or act with impatience or anger.

“We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough.”
-Helen Keller

This should not be surprising. After all, to attain excellence in anything we have to work at it. An Olympic swimming champion doesn’t go for a workout once a week on Sunday afternoon, but practices for hours every day.

The impetus to gain mastery over one’s mind and senses does not come from some Olympian height, or from a distant deity; it doesn’t come from any monastic rule, or even from one’s spiritual teacher. It comes from deep within yourself. You have had a fleeting glimpse of the shining presence within, and in its bright remembered light, all your flaws and blemishes are thrown into sharp relief. You can’t wait to start removing them.

Today: When I think of something or get into a situation where anger comes up, I will acknowledge the anger then breathe deeply, silently counting backwards from ten, and then decide what action to take. Mastery of nonviolence will come as I continue to practice.

The Thought for Today is COOPERATION

DAY 44 Mar. 14: The thought for today is COOPERATION.

When we work together, we are stronger than when we work alone. When we find ways that we can cooperate more effectively with the people in our family or workplace, school or community, we are tearing down walls of separation; we are contributing to a nonviolent culture.

Today: Find a very heavy object. Try to pick it up by yourself. Now ask 3 or 4 other people to assist. How did working together with other people help make this task easier for you?

The Thought for Today is UNIQUENESS

DAY 43 Mar. 13: The thought for today is UNIQUENESS.

Dale Carnegie says “The greatest need people have is for love and approval.”

Most of us cannot help comparing ourselves with others, at least now and then. This has become so entrenched in our culture that in order to have self-esteem, it seems almost necessary to say “I am better than he or she” implying therefore I am good.

As long as we compete with each other and compare one with another, a certain amount of envy is inescapable. It is the very rare person who is completely free from jealousy.

But as our awareness grows, we will know that there is a uniqueness about everyone. The truly nonviolent person never tries to compare himself with others, or others among themselves. While being aware of our uniqueness, also being aware of our oneness creates a sense of nonviolence.

Today: I will do something that shows how unique I am. I may draw a picture, sing a song, dance or write a story. I will praise, compliment or honor the uniqueness of someone I know and by doing so, notice the positive impact I make by recognizing their uniqueness.

The Thought for Today is ACCOUNTABILITY

DAY 42 Mar. 12: The thought for today is ACCOUNTABILITY.

In conflicting situations, personal accountability allows me to take responsibility for how I contribute to a conflict. I can then make a different choice that can lead to a peaceful resolution.

Today: I will be accountable for my words today. I will make a list of the thoughts I think and the words I speak that are violent. Every time I become aware of my violent thoughts or words, I will say to myself “delete” and start again.

The Thought for Today is OPENNESS

DAY 41 Mar. 11: The thought for today is OPENNESS.

A Turkish proverb says, “he who builds himself a fence, fences out more than he fences in.”

If you don’t listen to someone because they look different or have different ideas than you, you’re building a fence around yourself and you’re missing out on having a new friend and learning something new.

When we refrain from acting on a negative emotion or selfish desire, we stop building the fence around our life – we can open our life up to others.

When we can be open to the opportunity for growth, we can use this as a way to find nonviolent ways to resolve differences.

Today: I will be open to understanding ideas and people that I have previously opposed. I will find somebody who I never wanted to talk to before and find a way to have a conversation with him or her.

The Thought for Today is UNITY

DAY 40 Mar. 10: The thought for today is UNITY.

Differences give variety to life and are often only on the surface. Most communities are made of diverse groups of people who have different opinions, who look different, and who speak many different languages.

Our challenge is to see beyond outer differences in opinions and appearances and find a meeting point of underlying unity that exists in diversity. There is peace and nonviolence in unity as we recognize who we are in others, a transformation from separateness to unity.

Today: I will look for three ways to see beyond outer differences in opinions, appearances, or goals. I will seek out someone who looks different from me; looking beyond these outer differences I will see the unity which is inside and journal about what I have discovered.

The Thought for Today is DIALOGUE

DAY 39 Mar. 9: The thought for today is DIALOGUE.

Marianne Williamson describes a healthy society as one in which “those who disagree can do so with honor and respect for other people’s opinions, and an appreciation for our shared humanity.”

We might not always agree with other people, but when we really listen to what they have to say we are having a dialogue. We never argue in a dialogue. We say what we think and then we listen to the other person so we can understand what they think and learn from them.

When we engage in dialogue, we seek not to prove we are right, or that the other person is wrong, but to state clearly – from a place of ahimsa and truth force – what we believe to be true. We listen deeply so as to be able to understand the perspectives of those who do not appear to share our understanding.

Today: I will speak my truth quietly and clearly, and not enter into the spirit of argument. I will listen with an open heart, with compassion, to the truth as perceived by others.

The Thought for Today is KINDNESS

DAY 38 Mar. 8: The thought for today is KINDNESS.

Every day we hear of random and senseless acts of violence. By participating in the counter-revolution of kindness started by Anne Herbert you are contributing to a culture of nonviolence.

“Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”
-Anonymous

“My religion is kindness”
-The Dalai Lama

Today: I will do something kind for someone for no reason other than to be kind. I will bring beauty to a place where it may be needed without letting anyone know that I was the one who did it. I will write about how it felt and then share this story with someone.

The Thought for Today is GRACIOUSNESS

DAY 37 Mar. 7: The thought for today is GRACIOUSNESS.

Are we willing to make all sorts of gracious concessions on things that do not matter in life and yet stand unshakable on essentials?

To do this, we have to be detached from our opinions. This doesn’t mean being wishy-washy, or lacking strength in our convictions, but that we cultivate the forbearance not to force our opinions on others.

Today: I will create a skit with at least three other people to show the difference between graciousness and selfishness. I will observe and share with the others how graciousness adds to nonviolence.

The Thought for Today is MINDFULNESS

DAY 36 Mar. 6: The thought for today is MINDFULNESS.

Mindfulness is thinking about what you’re doing and knowing why you’re doing it. If we just act in each moment with composure and mindfulness, each minute of our life is a work of art.

Be aware of the motivation behind your action, the intention behind your words and the needs and experiences of other people. By doing so, you are making life more beautiful and you are more likely to make nonviolent choices.

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Today: Choose something simple to do, such as eating a piece of fruit. Bringing my complete attention to it, I will not allow myself to talk to anyone or think of anything else except what I’m doing. Notice what my hands do, the way the food feels in my mouth, the taste, the texture, the idea of nourishing my body. Is this different from the way I normally eat? I will practice being mindful in everything I do today.