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.
Under certain circumstances fasting is the one weapon which God has given us for use in times of utter helplessness.… Absence of food is an indispensable but not the largest part of it. The largest part is the prayer – communion with God. It more than adequately replaces physical food. ~ Gandhi, letter to Meera Behn from Yeravda, May 8, 1933
There’s a story in Western spiritual lore about a student asking his preceptor, “Since God is all-knowing, why do we have to ask him for what we want in prayer?” The answer is, “He already knows what you want; the purpose of the prayer is to get you into the state of mind to receive it.” Likewise Gandhi here hints at a dimension of fasting that I, for one, had never thought about: quite apart from direct “heart-opening” of one’s opponent it helps us get into a more concentrated and deeper state which is itself satisfying (as he stresses here) and puts more, purer energy behind our wishes for change.
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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.