Interview
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Nonviolent to yourself

From John Dear

“John Dear is the embodiment of a peacemaker,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote a few years ago when he nominated John for the Nobel Peace Prize. John Dear has studied all his life the teaching of the greatest non-violent leaders such as Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

2 weeks ago

Nonviolence begins first with being nonviolent to yourself.

Some discussion starter questions
  • What is this interior nonviolence?
  • ...

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Video transcript

So I would say there are these three attributes of nonviolence: first, to be nonviolent to yourself and that means just look deeply within. Why do I feel so violent ? Why do I beat myself up and put myself down ? Well, you've been trained to be violent. And we have to continue to, if you will, not cooperate with our own inner violence and cultivate what I call interior nonviolence or create a space of peace within ourself. This of course is the classic Buddhist tradition of mindful living, compassionate living, concentrating on our breath.
But all of us have to do that work especially if you're gonna be out on the streets marching holding up a sign because the cops are going to come along and somebody is going to have a gun and it's going to push your buttons and trigger the violence within you that maybe was something that happened when you were five years old. Or you can start fighting back just because of the violence in your youth. You're not consciously attentive to being nonviolent.

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