In a circle of trust, we learn a ‘third way’ to respond to the violence of the world, so called because it gives us an alternative to the ancient animal instinct of the ‘fight or flight’ response. To fight is to meet violence with violence, generating more of the same; to flee is to yield to violence, putting private sanctuary ahead of the common good. The third way is the way of nonviolence, by which I mean a commitment to act in every situation in ways that honor the soul. This requires four resources in order to survive and persist: a sound rationale for what you intend to do, a sensible strategy for doing it, a continuing community of support, and inner ground on which to stand. When we act from that motivation, we may or may not change the world. But we will always change ourselves for the better by practicing reverence and respect. Remember that violence is more than the physical savagery that gets much of the press. Far more common are those assaults on the human spirit so endemic to our lives that we may not even recognize them as acts of violence. Violence is done when parents insult children, when teachers demean students, when supervisors treat employees as disposable means to economic ends, when physicians treat patients as objects, when people condemn gays and lesbians ‘in the name of God,’ when racists live by the belief that people with a different skin color are less than human. Spiritual violence causes death in other guises- the death of a sense of self, of trust in others, of risk taking on behalf of creativity, of commitment to the common good. The choices we make in the microarenas of life contribute, for better or for worse, to what happens to the world at large…..Parker J. Palmer
amazing what we don’t notice…what we call normal and typical behavior…whenever we do not act out of love, we grieve…..these four ‘resources’ are wonderfully grounding & seen in context are quite liberating…..being part of a Unitarian church, these principles are vital…..we must respect and listen and move forward….we must know our source of strength…..where do you feel victimized? where can you ask the questions to test the hierarchy?……..
So where is the Tao? The Tao is in the middle. It’s the place where there is no energy pushing in either direction. The Way is the place in which forces balance quietly. You have to realize that since everything has its yin and yang, and everything has its own balance point. It is the harmony of all these balance points, woven together, and forms the Tao. To be efficient, you must center all of your energies on the path. If you do this, the energies that used to be wasted swinging sideways will get pulled into the center. That which wears out other people will draw very little of your energy. This principle holds true in every aspect of life. The Way is in the middle because that’s the place where the energies are balanced. But how do you stop the pendulum from swinging to the outer edges? Amazingly enough, you do this by leaving it alone. Don’t participate in them, and the pendulum will naturally come toward the center. As it comes to the center, you will get filled with energy. The experience of being present in each moment will become your natural state. You won’t be fixated on certain things or caught up in thoughts about the opposites. As you get clearer, life’s events will actually seem to unfold in slow motion. Life happens, you’re there, but you don’t make it happen. There is no burden; there is no stress. That is the Tao. It’s the most beautiful place in all of life……Michael Singer
it cannot be said that our western culture will support this middle way, but can we move in this direction? can we leave things alone? not fix them? let it all be ok and allow all of it? can we not buy into all of the drama?