Stories of Nonviolence: A Force More Powerful

 

As we sit in meditation during this Season for Nonviolence, let us envision a grid of Unconditional Love encircling our Globe, supporting all those individuals and organizations working to make nonviolence our planet’s operating principle.

 

 ‘If you think you’re too small to make a difference,

you’ve never been to bed with a mosquito!’ Anita Roddick

 

Although many of us feel that we are too insignificant to make a difference in the world, many of us have stepped into our power to take a stand for what we know is right and just and fair.  These are the courageous women and men all over the world, now and in the past, who have dared to stand up for human rights, challenged authoritarian governments and changed entire nations in the face of what was commonly felt were insurmountable odds. 

 

Today, as we face similar situations on the national level, we remember and emulate those great souls who have gone before us, ordinary people, who after resisting repression and aggression with struggle and violence, stepped into a space of authentic power and discovered a force more powerful ~ active nonviolence.  Each found their own unique way to make extraordinary changes in the character and course of their nation’s history.

 

‘Human beings looking at it may say that arms are the most dangerous

 things a tyrant, a dictator needs to fear, but in fact, NO!

It is when people decide they want to be free,

when they make up their minds to that,

there is nothing that will stop them.’

– Archbishop Desmond Tutu

 

 

SNAPSHOT:  Herbert Pundik, though Jewish, was not religious, but as he looked back towards the coast of Denmark, he was powerfully moved by the sight of 3 strangers, two women and a man, kneeling on the sandy beach with folded hands lifted, praying for his safe passage to Sweden.  It was an indescribable moment of connectedness, exemplifying the power and beauty of the human spirit. He and all but a few hundred of Denmark’s 7,000 Jews were spared from the gas chambers because in the spring of 1940 when Denmark was occupied by Hitler’s Germany, the Danes, individually and collectively, took a stand and, embarking on a powerful course of nonviolent non cooperation, spirited the Jews away to safety.  To the Danes, the most important measure of the success of their nonviolent stand, was the fact that at the end of the war, most Danes had not been brutalized by the Germans or by each other.

 

SNAPSHOT:  In the early eighties, ordinary workers at the Lenin shipyard in Gdansk stepped into the Truth of who they were and what was truly important.  They took a courageous, but risky stand.  In an act of unprecedented solidarity, and in a powerful moment of expanded awareness of the common good, instead of taking the limited benefits offered by the Soviet regime just for themselves, they insisted not only on their human rights, but on the human rights of all factory workers all over Poland.  As a result, in a powerful, country-wide nonviolence movement, they ultimately, with patience and perseverance, did the unthinkable – they changed the Soviet communist rule in Poland into a Polish democracy that more properly reflected who they were as a people and how they wanted to live their lives.

 

SNAPSHOT:  One evening in 1983, after a successful day of protest in the form of a city-wide slow down, ordinary Chilean citizens, amidst the jubilance of honking horns and the clanging of pots and pans, awakened to their individual and collective power and took a stand to end a decade of dictatorship.  It was not easy and they had to make a choice ~ armed struggle with the inevitable high cost in human life, or, some other way.  Although that ‘other way’ seemed nebulous, they stepped into their authentic power and chose to walk the path of soul; they found the strength to travel a path ‘without hate, without rancour [and] without vengeance’.  They chose active nonviolence, and, in a final irony, used Pinochet’s arrogance and his own plebiscite to vote him out of power.

 

Stepping into your authentic power aligns personality with Soul

from whence springs a force more powerful ~ creative nonviolence.

 

As we join our hearts together, know that powerful beacons of Light and Love will shine forth into the world, will join those from others of like intent, and be directed to those in greatest need on our beloved planet.

 

As we each prepare for the moment, let the mood be one of unconditional love…

…and May the Force be with us!

 

Please light your candles (optional) and commence with the following peace poem:

 

Dear God, Great Spirit,

from a space of humility and unconditional love,

We create the scaffold and hold a visionary image of the world’s people

Stepping into a space of authentic power and taking a stand for that which is REAL

guided by the unerring wisdom of their heart spaces, that place

from which springs right action and right thinking.

 

And we hold in our hearts all those who have courageously shown us the way

To make the difference that truly matters in our lives and in our world,

While staying true to the understanding that we are one connected strand of life,

precious and wonderful and beautiful

In our expression of Self.

 

May we stand strong and tall in our Center of Soul,

The power of many with one voice.

~ Aum and Amen ~

 

After this introductory vision/meditation/prayer, please express your own vision of peace. (As always, please feel free to modify the peace poem, or to use your own.)

 

~ Celebrating Great Souls Becoming ~

 

Please close your peace session with the extinguishing of the candle.

_________________________________

Footnotes

This Peace Circle was inspired by the extraordinary people from all over the world who shared their Truth and their experiences in the PBS documentary 'A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict', September, 2000.  It is the 10th in the series of SNV2004 Peace Circles.

 

Sources:

  • The quote from Anita Roddick was taken from the 3-part documentary ‘Women of Wisdom and Power’ (September, 2001) from Producer/Director Lili Fournier.

  • The quote from Archbishop Tutu comes from the documentary ‘A Force More Powerful’.

  • The quote from Eleanor Roosevelt was taken from the website of Gather the Women.  www.gatherthewomen.org

 

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience

in which you really stop to look fear in the face.

You must do the thing which

you think you cannot do.”

- Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 March 29, 2004

 

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