When I heard the name Mahatma Gandhi, I did not realize his importance globally. Non-violence resonated with me. Think of the opposite. What’s the need?
Before attending a talk on non-violence, I thought of the violence I have seen. My first discussion of violence was in fourth grade. My friends and I were discussing how to defend ourselves. My Bruce Lee impersonation with sound effects sent a friend frighteningly into the supplies closet. Two guys fighting in the school cafeteria in sixth grade was my first encounter with violence. One threw chairs and the place cleared out with students in shock and not knowing how to respond. We couldn’t believe what was happening.
The next occurrence of violence occurred on a Sunday driving through downtown as a sixteen year old. As I slowly drove by, two men were fighting. A car stopped ahead of me and a mountain of a man stepped out in a three piece suit. He single handedly separated the two. They didn’t have a chance!
In history class my high school teacher assigned us a term paper. My paper was on the book, The Life of Mahatma Gandhi. A fascinating read by Louis Fischer and years later in 1982 the movie Gandhi played in theaters. The most vivid scenes for me was a reporter on the phone relaying the story of how Gandhi was leading a non-violence movement in Africa and then India.
Violence didn’t occur again until I visited Hollywood on a tour bus parked adjacent to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre for tourists to shop for souvenirs. People screamed and began to gather, therefore, I rushed across the street because I’ve heard of people passing out from seeing a star. Brad Pitt, then they faint.
A car pulled up and three guys attacked another. A mob ensued. They were beating him and he fell to the ground. They continued to kick him! The girls with the guys tried to stop the violence. As the girls were being pushed aside, losing footing, and clothing, me and a guy running from the other side of the street were about to step in to help the girls. I’m not sure what I would have done. In hindsight, I think the best I could have done was to yell at the top of my voice. Fortunately, we heard a police siren and the guys doing the beating ran off.
As a motivational and inspirational speaker and author, I’ve been on the platform in front of diverse groups: Business and community groups, athletes, detainees in the mental health quad at the Greenville Detention Center, facilitate a mental health support group, and train police officers. Many of them have experienced violence either perpetrated by another or themselves.
I emphasize the following:
1. Non-violence towards yourself
2. Non-violence towards another
To have a deeper appreciation of non-violence the thought provoking talk I attended was part of an event at the Vedic Center of Greenville in Ahimsa Hall by Shrimiti Kamalaji (Gandhi Foundation). Ahimsa means non-violence.
My question to her: With the increase in non-military violence how do we create a non-violence movement in our community and society in order to consistently enable individuals’ dreams, aspirations, and hope successfully?
1. Non-violence isn’t to be legislated
2. Use self-discipline, aspirations, and passion for inner-peace
As I reflected on her answer, I think of the courage of Malala Yousafzai, and of using books, pens, teachers, and education as a weapon and the non-violence movement in Hong Kong for democracy.
The words of Gandhi still reverberate:
“It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Think about what non-violence would look like in your community.
1. The evening news wouldn’t open with someone being shot, a school shooting, or a story on bullying.
2. Doctor’s offices and hospitals serve sick people not cases of domestic violence
3. There’s no suicide.
What fills the void?
Consistently enable individuals’ dreams successfully. Without enabling great dreams there is apathy and violence as means for survival. Be determined to help, assist, and support someone you know and don’t know with earning and achieving great dreams because by doing so we find better ways and create new jobs (an occupation that didn’t exist before) and better jobs (ones with career progression) to generate economic growth, peace, and raise the standard of living locally, nationally, and throughout the world.
Before we are capable of doing so, we need non-violence to produce economic growth and peace. What can you be involved with or do to create a non-violence movement in your community?
List three ways non-violence brings economic growth:
List three ways for you to benefit from non-violence:
By having a conversation with a group or a person about the items you listed you have an opportunity to enrich and expand or create a non-violence movement in your community. We will have a better future by creating a non-violence movement in communities throughout the nation and world. Enable great dreams – they become greater.