Non-violence 101: Non-violence is an active process and is not the same as not being violent. Non-violence holds the space for the power of spirit/love/God/the universe to transcend a situation or relationship to its highest level and holds those who appear to oppose or oppress us in the wings of unity. It creates a crack in war large enough for spirit to flow in. It is the ladder out of the pit of an argument that appears as if there are only two options–one that makes you wrong and one that makes me wrong.
Non-violence is a lens that captures the light and limitlessness in appearing tragic or devastating situations. Non-violence uses the body as a tool to exercise the spirit into physical form. In a way that stretches and poses allow yogis to practice yoga of the spirit, so, too, does activism stand witness to the greatest unfolding for all involved and creates a healthy blood flow, drawing our physical collective bodies lifeward, that allows for clarity and proper reflection.
Non-violence is inseparable from unity in that it recognizes the diversity of human experiences is a requirement for uniting. Unity is irrelevant in the presence of sameness, but oneness is essential in the presence of diversity, because the diversity is the perspective and physical evidence of differing bodies, but the oneness is the acknowledgement of the divinity that underlies all conscious beings. It asks us to remove illusions of separation and recognizes that the healing done onto the seemingly oppressed is healing done onto the seeming oppressors. It is a requirement to draw forth and dismiss our loveless thoughts in order to pursue a loving outcome. Anything else is war.
How: Nonviolence reorganizes our beliefs about who and what we are resisting against. It removes the responsibility of the body to make a change and re-ordains the spirit of life the proper role of healing. It quiets our mind from making others wrong and in this does the clarity for truth become easier to speak. The truth then becomes the only weapon, and this weapon doesn’t destroy, but creates by undoing the defensive and fearful thoughts we had about the opposition and theirs about us. Thus, we do nothing but hold space for a truer more loving way and the opposition then gets to become the hero of their story by leading the charge in reconciliation–because, in the end, the battle does not belong to those oppressed, but to the oppressors, and it is our role to help them remember what a world with no war would mean for all.
More on Nonviolence:
[Below is a picture of me and Soulforce Equality Riders in 2007 on a Christian campus that discriminates against LGBTQ people. We were offering peace shawls and prayers as a way to hold space for unity in dialog]