“I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith.”
–Gandhi (Harijan, October 3, 1936)
Anyone. All of us. That is what Gandhi is telling us about the force of nonviolence. It is not for those who have been good all year long or for those who were born into families with “hippie parents” or even born in India. Even Gandhi himself did not start out with a “spiritual spoon” in his mouth. He made mistakes. He had to work at it every day, but every day was new to him. A new chance to grow closer to the goal.
When I think of Gandhi, it is not the person I am drawn to as much as his character, his gentle power and his experiential comprehension of the great force of nonviolence. This is not beyond our reach, he assures us. He doesn’t just throw up his hands and say, “isn’t it great that I’ve been able to get to this point? Sorry for the rest of you. Sorry for the world…” Nope. He gives us the scientific formula to success: replicate his experiment — with the necessary adjustments for our time and place: Cultivate the same hope and faith that he has and then combine that with his same level of effort.
The question on all our minds is, could we do this? Given the need of the day could we, someone, not only meet, but maybe even surpass his efforts? What would that take?
I guess there’s only one way to find out.
Experiment in nonviolence:
The goal of nonviolence is within your capacity. How will you renew your efforts today?