Listen to a sample audio snippet.
Gandhi spoke about applying nonviolence in thought, word, and action. The heart of the practice of nonviolence is a commitment to live through the powerful combination of compassion, fierceness, and courage, with an uncompromising willingness to stand for truth.
The purpose of this course is to place NVC within the tradition of nonviolence and to support you in learning what it takes to integrate the commitment to nonviolence all the way into the deepest structures of your thoughts; to speak in ways that carry this commitment forward into all your relationships; and to apply this consciousness in all your actions, including your participation in the collective enterprise called social structures.
Week 1: NVC and Nonviolence
The focus of this session is the relationship between NVC and the tradition of nonviolence started by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Together we will explore what nonviolence means in your everyday life, and how it connects to the larger issues we face as a species in today’s world. In the process, we will identify the core obstacles to moving from where you are to embracing the deepest practice of nonviolence in thought, word, and action.
Week 2: Nonviolence in Thought
The focus of this session is on learning to overcome the fear that gets in our way of embracing love and truth as core principles of being. In particular, we will look at how we can begin to welcome conflict and challenge as a path towards greater wholeness; examine our assumptions about ourselves and others; and move closer to the dream of Rumi’s field, where we can live beyond thoughts of right-doing and wrong-doing.
Week 3: Nonviolence in Word
The focus of this session is on applying the consciousness of nonviolence in the way that we use language and relate to others. The goal is to find inner strength to persist in listening when people say challenging things, courage and vulnerability to speak truth with love, openness to ask for all we want and to be ready to say “yes” and “no” truthfully, and the presence of mind to remember our commitment to transcend our judgments in real time so we can continue engaging in conflict productively.
Week 4: Nonviolence in Action
The focus of this session is to bring the principles of nonviolence into everything we do. This means to find more capacity to live in integrity with our values as well as more and more gentleness toward ourselves when we don’t. We will also engage in envisioning, in detail, a world that truly works for everyone and how we can transcend our “enemy images” and find willingness to engage with all for the benefit of all.
Suggested Readings (Reading these books are suggested only, and are not required for full participation in the course. You may get them from your local library or favorite book store.)
Sharif Abdullah, Creating a World that Works for All
Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict
James Gilligan, Violence: Our Deadly Epidemic and Its Causes
Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, A Human Being Died That Night
Michael Nagler, Is There No Other Way?
Walter Wink, The Powers that Be
This course is based on material from Miki’s Fearless Heart blog posts as well as other reference materials created by Miki (and enhanced by reading the books above). In addition, you will receive reflection questions each week and may work with an empathy buddy to support learning, integration, and healing so that you are able to fully embrace the radical practice that nonviolence entails. The classes offer a mixture of small and large group interaction and plenty of opportunity to receive support and coaching.