In all probability, humans have used violent activity to attempt to achieve individual and group goals ever since our earliest evolution. To the casual observer, it seems like the habit of using physical or mental vilence to achieve social and political change is an inborn instinct.
In my life of over six decades, I have never seen my home nation, the United States, at any sort of peace. Each and every year of my life, I’ve noticed that our country has been involved in some sort of war, conflict or “police action” at home or abroad. Many times there is more than one war or “police action” taking place at once.
As I write this, today, our nation and much of the world community of humanity, are actively involved in the torture, wounding, and mass murdering of other human beings. Yet, many of us feel that it isn’t our place to help curb this big problem. So, we end up overdosing on entertainment or escaping into political idealism.
Trying to escape from this fact doesn’t alter the situation. Escapism only allows the violence to increase. The mass murders keep going on. Political idealism is often worse, because of its tendency to further polarize situations. There is the seductive culture of blame and scapegoating that causes minorities and other nations to suffer persecution.
I don’t need to point out the numerous instances of overt greed and prejudice that plague the planet, nor the glamorization of such negativity. Until very recently, in the history of mankind, humans have cursed one another with empire building, territorial theft, cultural and racial genocide, and much more. The techniques most commonly used is deadly violence and mass murder. Over and over again we kill each other and justify it in the name of superiority, patriotism, or entitlement. We forget that those who are scapegoated, blamed, reviled, and hurt also have deep positive, loving feelings.
I realize I’m probably “preaching to the choir” when I write these words. But even those of us who believe deeply and strongly for peaceful resolution of conflicts need to find reenforcement of our values. We need motivation to help end the subjugation of peoples. We need to find the energy to counteract the mass murders going on right now. If you’re still reading this page, you might feel conflicted and concerned about these seemingly unsurmountable problems.
Well, today is one of those very, very rare commemorative days that have been dedicated to world peace and compassion. Today is the International Day of Non-Violence. Today is the global observance of non-violence as the solution to disagreements. While it is observed unofficially in many nations, it’s not a legal, public holiday. It should be.
Why is the International Day of Non-violence celebrated on October second? It’s actually because we celebrate two important aspects. Mohandas Gandhi was born in Porbandar, Kathlawar, India on October 2, 1869. We also celebrate his positive, active practice of Ahimsa in the resolution of conflict. Ahimsa is the ancient wisdom practice of non-injury. It is the prescription of the sages as the most effective way to counteract and eradicate the brutal and cruel nature of humans.
The wisdom traditions of South Asia have advocated for and practiced Ahimsa for many centuries. The most well-known practitioner of Ahimsa, within recent history, was Mohandas Gandhi. We know that the Mahatma displayed a pure, universal love for all people without limit. Gandhi was an example of selfless activism and service to India. He proved that non-violent revolution could free his nation from the bondage of the British Empire. He advocated absolute peacefulness. He wanted nobody in his movement to use even the slightest measure of violence.
Look closely at the life of Gandhi. He was the living proponant of Ahimsa. His belief was the religion of love and peace. He believed that Ahimsa was the ultimate duty of human beings. Ahimsa is refraining from causing any pain to any living creature. It has been the central and distinctive doctrine of South Asian civilization from the very earliest days of that area’s history. So Gandhi was only advocating and acting from a purely traditional base. These historically imperative roots are the foundations of the works and other activism connected with the International Day of Non-Violence.
Modern day Ahimsa, used in the furtherance of positive, peaceful values, includes three categories of non-violent activity:
1. Peaceful protest and acts of persuasion, like marches and vigils.
2. Non-cooperation with those who advocate harm and killing.
3. Non-violent interventions like blockades and occupations.
The General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution in 2007 to establish October second as the International Day of Non-Violence. The resolution was inspired by Mohandas Gandhi and his philosophy of Ahimsa, or non-violence.
The Blue Jay of Happiness knows that one of the best methods to achieve happiness and contentment is to treat everyone else with respect and peacefulness.