Happy 🦃 week!
Mahatma Gandhi, one of the greatest peace activists of the twentieth century, changed the course of India’s history by quite literally feeding his enemy. Gandhi, the story goes, was told that he would be visited by a British official who would threaten him with prison if he did not give up what the British considered to be the subversive activity of marching in protest of the British salt tax. Gandhi’s advisers suggested putting nails in the road to puncture the tires of the official’s car.
“You will do nothing of the sort,” said Gandhi. “We shall invite him to tea.” Crestfallen, his followers obeyed. When the official arrived, he entered full of pomp and purpose.
“Now then, Mr. Gandhi, this so-called salt marching has to stop at once. Otherwise I shall be forced to arrest you.” “Well,” said Gandhi, “first, let’s have some tea.”
The Englishman agreed, reluctantly. Then, when he had drained his cup, he said briskly, “Now we must get down to business. About these marches …”
Gandhi smiled. “Not just yet. Have some more tea and biscuits; there are more important things to talk about.” And so it went. The Englishman became increasingly interested in what the Mahatma had to say, drank many more cups of tea and ate many more biscuits until he was completely diverted from his official task, and eventually went away won over to Gandhi’s cause.
Gandhi used the medium of tea, an English ritual that implies civility and mutual respect, and literally fed this enemy until he became an ally. His tactic of feeding rather than fighting contributed to one of the most extraordinary nonviolent revolutions in history.
This story from the book, Feeding your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict
is used to illustrate how the past of least resistance is often the one with the most compassion. The book itself teaches a Tibetan Buddhist practice known as Chöd
which is a combination of meditation/visualization and can be helpful in overcoming a whole host of negative emotions. I’ve just started the practice and look forward to sharing some of my experiences in the future.
Time is always moving on, Nothing can stop it. The question is whether we use our time properly or not. We can’t do anything about the past, but what happens in the future depends on what we do now. —Dalai Lama