I am so excited to have found a new course on nonviolence to complete online (and for free). I am especially appreciative of this because I have been feeling frustrated about not being able to start a graduate certificate in peace and conflict studies this year (for a host of reasons) and now I have another way to move forward. Thank you, Metta Centre for Nonviolence.
The first lesson of the Introduction to Nonviolence outlines ten principles of nonviolence. My responses (with my needs orientation) to these principles are below… To read the original descriptions you will need to enrol in the course yourself…
Fight injustice, not people.
Identify and clarify the problem or problems. If I can do this in collaboration with other people with an interest in the issue – instead of alienating them – I am more likely to find a solution that meets everyone’s needs.
Seek win-win solutions.
It is not my aim to be right, to win, or even to have everything go my way. My aim is to connect with others and build strong, caring relationships. In the context of these relationships I am likely to be able to meet my needs while simultaneously serving the needs of others.
Respect everyone, including yourself.
Everyone deserves respect. Sometimes I may get scared or angry and be tempted to denigrate myself or others. I will try to remember that (at best) this will leave me feeling more scared and more angry.
Nonviolence will always improve things down the line.
Nonviolence may not get me what I want in the short-term, but used consistently will provide tangible and intangible rewards – like fulfilling relationships, and being at peace with myself.
The means are as important, if not more so, than the ends.
We get what we give. Violence may get me what I want right now, but there will be a price to pay. This price will probably be more violence.
Each of us has a piece of the truth; none of us has the whole truth.
Listen to other people’s truths. Use the listening that has me be willing to be affected by what I hear.
Persuade, don’t coerce.
I’m ambivalent about this one. In my experience, ‘persuasion’ can be violent (am I the only one who has been bombarded with ‘logic?’). How about ‘collaborate, don’t coerce.’ I would like to work with others to find mutually agreeable solutions to problems, rather than force or manipulate others into doing things that suit me and my understandings of the world.
Stay true to my values. Nonviolent strategies to meet needs are infinite, so be as creative and flexible with these as needed. Just stay true to my values.
If I try to meet my needs at the expense of your needs you are likely to return the favour. I want to slow down, consider all the needs at play – mine, yours, the needs of other people, the needs of things other than people… What beautiful solution can we create together?
Nonviolence starts with you.
Nonviolence starts with me and with you.