Satyagraha in the family? You better believe it! The more we learn the skills of resisting those closest to us when we are called to do so, the stronger those skills are when we apply them to those from whom we have more detachment. To use Satyagraha in our homes means that we are never willing to inflict harm or punishment on those around us. Gandhi, for example, when some children in his ashram were caught “misbehaving,” probably for some minor offense like smoking, decided that instead of punishing the children, he would fast. (“In an ashram”, he said, “punishment is out of the question.”)
On the one hand, if the ashram children were misbehaving, he was not free from blame; and secondly, by fasting, he could take on the suffering in the situation, giving the children a chance to recognize by his act their relationship to the rest of their community. When they had lost sight of their unity with the whole, his willingness to take on the suffering in his own body could remind them and strengthen their conscience, where punishment might lead them to rebel further.
Consider how you might resist when necessary those you love with nonviolence instead of violence.
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 firstname.lastname@example.org