“Education of the Heart”–Daily Metta

January 22

2635156“I do not believe that an education of the heart can be imparted through books. It can only be done through the living touch of the teacher.” –M.K. Gandhi (Young India, September 1, 1921)

A nonviolent education requires the integral development of the whole person. Gandhi’s vision of a new education or “nai talim” aimed at the development of the mind, body and spirit.  Books alone cannot show us how to be kind to those around us. Even if we read about lofty ideals, without the guidance of human beings who show us to carry them out we will find it difficult.

Only other human beings can inspire us to forgive one another, teaching us by their own example. Only other human beings can challenge us to work together harmoniously, again through their example. For this reason, in the development of the new education movement within the Indian Freedom Struggle, Gandhi did not worry whether the teachers he sent from the movement to establish schools were literate or not. He looked instead for examples of beautiful inner characters—was this person patient and loving? He would send him. Was she determined and hard working? He would send her. In doing so, Gandhi demonstrated that the foundation for all intellectual knowledge rests upon the willingness to carry out the responsibility to take care of one another, a true education of the heart.


Experiment in Nonviolence:

Think of a situation in which you find you lack patience. Look for an example—or many– of someone who demonstrates the skill of patience and allow yourself learn from them.



Daily Metta 2015, a service of the Metta Center for Nonviolence, is a daily reflection on the strategic and spiritual insights of Mahatma Gandhi in thought, word and deed. As Gandhi called his life an “experiment in truth,” we have included an experiment in nonviolence to accompany each Daily Metta. Check in every day for new inspiration. Each year will be dedicated to another wisdom teacher.