Deepest Nature: Daily Metta

“And if we go deeply into the matter, we shall come across men in every walk of life who lead dedicated lives. No doubt these sacrificers obtain their livelihood by their work. But their livelihood is not their objective, but only a by-product of their vocation. . .” ~ Gandhi, From Yeravda Mandir, pp. 57-60

A meaningful life requires work for the welfare of all. Such a spirit of work Gandhi refers to as a form of sacrifice, or yajna. In most cases, as long as what we do is not toward the destruction of life, it is not our work that changes when we offer yajna, but our state of mind. Gandhi acknowledges that there is a certain cynicism about the possibility of people working in this spirit being a majority any time soon, given the predominant post-industrial values of materialism and individualism, but he does not let it deter him from keeping his sights on the reality that, indeed, our deepest nature is good and we will find people all around us—and all around the world, for that matter—for whom their work, as he says, is “only a by-product of their vocation.” I’m reminded of Mother Teresa, who said that our vocation is love. Whether we work in a movie theater, in a skyscraper, or on a farm, we can keep our eyes on that potential in human nature—to help it emerge in ourselves and in others. If we do, we can find ourselves moving slowly beyond the worldview of separation and materialism.

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About Daily Metta

Book cover imageStephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence.

Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide.

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