March 24NextPrevious   

“Knowing our limitations”–Daily Metta

“I have wisdom enough to know my limitations.”

-–Gandhi (Harijan, 7-23-1938, p. 193)

While violence asks us to think of the limitations of others and ourselves as weaknesses, knowledge of our own limitations is a strength in nonviolence, because the discipline of nonviolence, when understood as a broad ‘experiment with truth,’ gives us the capability to do something about them. We may, for example, know how to protect ourselves from having our weaknesses exploited.  If I know that certain issues, words or attitudes will push my buttons, and it is therefore harder to maintain nonviolent discipline when they come up, I can do something to prepare myself.

This is why Gandhi felt that Socrates was one of the greatest Satyagrahis (persons who practice nonviolence): he was the first to admit that he was wise precisely because he ‘knew that he did not know’. Without the pretense in our minds that we have all of the knowledge to solve all of the world’s problems, not to mention our personal issues, we are free to embark on the creative path of curiosity, as real experimenters in the power of nonviolence.  As Gandhi famously said, each person can maintain his or her own truth without harm as long as s/he adopts nonviolence in the give-and-take of working out our differences, meaning, among other things, to hold even our deepest beliefs as hypotheses.

Experiment in Nonviolence

Analyze a limitation you have. Consider how it is can be a strength to be aware of this limitation.

The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299