Though Gandhi’s campaign in India is referred to as an “independence” movement it was more precisely a struggle for liberation. For Gandhi, liberation–both personal and social–is a matter of realizing right relationships to (if I can paraphrase the Earth Charter) one another, the creatures of the planet, our resources and the Earth. Here, he clarifies that right relationships consist of two ingredients: interdependence and self-sufficiency. For, when we aim for independence alone we are apt to find ourselves caught up in spirals of alienation, isolation and exploitation. This explains why Gandhi was not anti-British. Liberation from them would mean establishing interdependence with, not isolation from them. And yet, paradoxically, when we include ideal of self-sufficiency in our understanding of interdependence, we cannot be coerced into even the best of relationships; we must enter into them in freedom. Striking this balance is not without its challenges–interdependence is harder, and takes more work because, (well, sigh) we have to find a way to get along and be generous with others, even when we would rather not.
Identify one area in your life where you would like to become more self-sufficient. How would you balance that with interdependence?
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