“A New Kind of Think Tank”–Daily Metta

April 4:

“The method of satyagraha requires that the standing-gandhisatyagrahi should never lose hope, so long as there is the slightest ground for it.”

–Gandhi ( Mahatma, Vol. 5, p. 235)


When Michael Nagler told one of his young friends that he was going to start a new think tank on nonviolence, she responded gravely, “The world does not need another think tank; it needs a hope tank.” So, after a long evolution of over a decade now, every first Saturday of the month the Metta Center hosts Hope Tank — an open but focused conversation on the greatest challenges facing the world today, with the emphasis on how nonviolence works. A hope tank, in other words, starts on the opposite foot to most conversations in the general culture: it begins with the awareness that nonviolence can and does work if we give it our time and creative energy (and recognize that its work will always ripen over time). It is also a practice space for talking about nonviolence. With so many cultural misconceptions about its power and history, such conversations are often cut off before they even begin: Oh nonviolence, that would never have worked against Hitler (and therefore what use is it?).  Such questions can be a real learning process–Have you heard of the Rosenstrasse demonstrations? What about Father Kolbe or The White Rose?

For those who might want to start their own hope tank, this is how we do it:

We begin with thirty minutes of silent meditation followed by a vegetarian potluck breakfast and conversation along the lines mentioned above. People come from all over with questions ranging from personal practice to political change. And they leave feeling supported, empowered, and positive that they matter. In short, they leave with a sense of realistic hope. And here’s the good news: to get started with your own, you really only need two people–yourself and a friend. You can let it grow from there.


Experiment in Nonviolence:

Start a hope tank meeting in your local area, if even just a small conversation about how nonviolence works with a friend over a cup of tea. Perhaps start by reading The Nonviolence Handbook.



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.