BK Blog Post
Posted by Michael Nagler.
Michael is founder and president of the Metta Center for Nonviolence and the author of Our Spiritual Crisis and The Search for a Nonviolent Future, which received a 2002 American Book Award and has been translated into several languages.
“Your difficulty is not numerical inferiority but the feeling of helplessness that has seized you and the habit of depending on others.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma 7.255
Gandhi was accused of using the term swaraj for India’s “freedom” because of its very deep spiritual significance. His response was, so to speak, “guilty as charged.” He had done it deliberately, because what he was engaged in was precisely that, a spiritual struggle that begins and ends with our independence from others. It is only when we are truly free, or independent, that we can really give. There had always been boycotts, but he asked his followers (in this case most of India) to spin and weave their own cloth, then boycott British imports. It was very concrete, economic, but for those who cared to see beneath the surface it was also a symbol of individual freedom that enabled one to see beyond the illusion of helplessness and dependency that is always the first weapon of oppression.
Thanks for sharing a comment below.
Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence.
Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide.