Active Nonviolence as a Way of Life
"Nonviolence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being."
Active nonviolence involves both our inner self and our outer self. It is manifested in how we treat ourselves, others, and Earth. It is embodied through such acts as respect, attentive listening, kindness, compassion, reconciliation, forgiveness, and works of justice.
Active nonviolence is sometimes referred to as the Third Way. Parts of our brains are wired to automatically respond in two ways: flight or fight, by being passive or using violence. Active nonviolence opens up a third way of responding based on respect of the humanity of another, the sacredness of everything.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s principles of nonviolence continue to guide people in this Third Way. Many use these principles when facing difficult situations to discern how to act.
The Institute for Peace and Justice in St. Louis has developed a pledge of nonviolence for families, schools, workplaces, and other situations which illustrates how this can become a way of life.