–Gandhi (1-20-1940, p. 423)
At the root of exploitation is the worldview of separateness: that I can derive some kind of personal benefit by harming others. In nonviolence, we want to turn exploitation on its head, into the awareness that no one benefits when harm is offered for any reason. Yet, in a society where exploitation is so prevalent — from our food choices, to high rents and the costs of our basic needs, from our clothing choices to even the dynamics of our personal relationships, those who wish to bring nonviolence into the world must become aware of our collusion with exploitative systems and practices, to avoid them wherever possible. Even in our struggles for justice, we cannot set up a new system based on the energy of the old (or the worldview behind it). To combat exploitation, we must make an ongoing effort to find the real welfare of the whole, which, almost miraculously, includes our own. This will often mean finding ways to resist exploitation without recreating it. We can keep this thought in mind: if the essence of violence is exploitation, the essence of nonviolence is service.
Experiment in Nonviolence:
Find an opportunity to be of service today. Take it.
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.