“What is necessary?”–Daily Metta

April 1:

images-5“A Swadeshist will learn to do without hundreds of things which today he considers necessary.”

Gandhi (Selected Writings pp. 336-44)


Many people still feel that localism, or swadeshi, is a far-fetched, unrealistic notion. Certainly, it is not without its complexities, but it is not beyond us to strive toward it regularly, even if we do not, or cannot, attain its full realization.

Gandhi is suggesting that when we commit ourselves to the discipline of localism, we will no doubt have to put up with some minor, or even major, inconveniences — convenience being, after all, one of the key promises of corporate commercialism. Think of all the things we’ve come to depend on that come from –just to take one example — China!

Thus, if we are truly committed to ending exploitation, of people and the planet, we will indeed need to  put up with those personal inconveniences, at least temporarily, while never giving up the vision that if we lack something locally, we might very well be capable of producing it locally, and if not, Gandhi himself was not opposed to a certain amount of interdependency, or what we’d call “fair trade.” Still, it requires our willingness to let go of many things we think are necessary.  But isn’t that thinking often a result of mass media advertising?  A kind of April Fool’s joke?  Do we really need a new cell phone or a second car? Perhaps, then, the greatest experiment in nonviolence upon which all of us can embark is the voluntary reduction of our desires and wants. In the context of a spiritual practice, after all, this can be a liberating experience.


Experiment in Nonviolence:

Attempt to reduce one of your wants or desires today by red-penning something that is not produced locally (however broad your personal definition of local extends…).


Daily Metta 250x250Daily 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.


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