A Life ConnectedNonviolence United explains Nonviolence as connection; whereas violence is disconnection. This is fundamental to what is taught by the heroes of Nonviolence.

Mohandas Gandhi taught a continual search for the truth – to connect while eliminating disconnection (lies — even lies we tell ourselves, propaganda, personal disconnection of choices and their effects).

Cesar Chavez taught us that when we buy consciously and live our lives consistently with our values we can build a fair society – connection of our choices and their effects can build a society reflective of those values; disconnection builds a schizophrenic society that doesn’t reflect, respect or uphold our values.

Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us of “interbeing”- that everyone and everything is connected; how even a piece of paper holds the soil, the tree, the sky, the clouds and the rain that gave birth to it.

And Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us of how the disconnection from how we waste our resources on hate, militarism and materialism rather than on uplifting humanity is limiting our true potential.

You’ll also hear from the masters of Nonviolence their call for love. As Thich Nhat Hanh puts it, “Love is the essence (the core, the heart) of Nonviolence.” But what is love? How can we love our enemies when they cause us so much pain?

Love in the tradition of Nonviolence doesn’t mean acceptance of an opponent. It doesn’t even mean you have to like your opponent. Love means connecting to the potential of your opponent. Love means seeing yourself in your opponent.

Imagine yourself as your opponent. We each may remember a time when we were not who we are now. We believed different things; we acted in different ways. If you sat down and had a conversation with your past self about issues now important to you, you might not even like that person. If your past self was in front of you today, you might even see that person as an opponent.

But what if you hate or dismiss or even hurt your past self? Would that person have had the opportunity to reach their potential? How might you help them along the path? Think of how much more powerful it would be to recognize the potential for good in your opponent, to foster their potential, and to offer a hand in their reaching that potential. That is love.