05 March 2011

Season of Nonviolence – Day 35: Understanding

Welcome to Day 35 of the Season of Nonviolence – 64 Days of peaceful wisdom honoring the lives and nonviolent principles of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cesar Chavez.

Nonviolence begins with learning how to be less violent and more compassionate towards ourselves. We learn by building the courage to speak and act with respect, honor and reverence for our own being.


"If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool." ~ Carl Jung

We feel loved and accepted when we are understood. It is easy to understand those we perceive as being like us, yet it can be very challenging to understand those whose life experience, beliefs and actions are foreign, strange or threatening to us. The lack of understanding leads us to treat people as 'not one of us'. Without understanding, forgiveness and peace are not possible. 

Thich Nhat Hanh says, "When you understand, you cannot help but love…Practice looking at all living beings with the eyes of compassion." Send a silent thought of love to ten people today. Share your experience with someone.

Contemplate how you can better understand the person, group or situation you identified in the previous day's practice. Meditate or journal about ways you can gain greater understanding and resolve to act on them.

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