Thoughts on Living a Life of Meaning by Mahatma Gandhi

Nonviolent civil disobedience is a concept that interests me. Within it, I can see a whole world of possibilities for pressuring others to do as you want them to do. It’s amazing what a peaceful, but persistent and passionate nudge in a singular direction can accomplish over time. Mahatma Gandhi is perhaps one of the most noted proponents of nonviolent civil disobedience as he led India to independence from Britain while providing the inspiration for other peaceful, but passionate protests and civil rights movements around the globe.

Here are some of his most noteworthy thoughts on the subject of living a life of meaning:

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

What a great concept, and I can think of many times where I could not forgive some misdeed committed against me. Looking back on instances like these I realize that I lacked the strength of being to allow myself the pleasure of forgiveness.

When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.

Yes, yes, yes! Regardless of your belief system, or lack of one, the simple appreciation and awe that comes from taking in the vast and amazing creation that we are a part of lends itself to the recognition that all of this coming about and working in perfect unison, all happening by pure chance seems impossible.

A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.

This same concept is echoed by great thinkers throughout time. People are the most basic components of culture. The collective minds and hearts of the people therefore, must determine the heart and mind of a culture.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

We must never surrender our principles and beliefs so long as they stand as valid. I can think of many times when I have surrendered a belief based on overwhelming evidence that I was misinformed and wrong. However, should your convictions and beliefs be substantial and without weakness, stand firm in them and know that there is power in doing what is right.

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No one can hurt me without my permission.

I love this concept. Our bodies can be destroyed by others. But it is our minds and our spirit that cannot be broken without our willingness to submit. This idea is one I try to remember anytime I feel that the cards are stacked against me and that others are working to position me in a negative light. Keep this in mind and you will overcome.

Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up.

How easy is it to resort to anger and pride when faced with adversity? So easy! The stronger person accepts adversity and gently and quietly works to repel it while remaining firm in their belief that they are on the side of what is right and just. Such a cool thought for a life well lived.

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If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.

Gandhi faced persecution like I could never imagine. I can see why he could say something like this given the immense level of adversity heaped upon him over the course of his lifetime. But he persevered and sustained his path, his beliefs and his ultimate desires. In the end, he was victorious.

It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings.

Societies throughout time have taken great pride in their domination over others. As a badge of honor men feel themselves superior to those they can overrun by force and power but in this concept is great error. The human spirit should not be harmed by any person, nation or culture lest it be heaped back upon them in time.

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?

Hate and sin against mankind comes from many sources, often those who profess to be just and righteous. In the end those who suffer under the boot of violent power don’t care where its coming from. The fact that such evil exists is all that really matters to its victims.

As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.

Humans have the power to change, to overcome our earthly desires and fixations and to aspire and achieve a higher calling and reality. As human beings we are capable of growing, learning and reasoning our lives toward the better and the greater. I love the concept of remaking ourselves in an effort to shape the world we live in.

So there you have it my friends! Some really great thoughts and words from a man of greatness who aspired to be no such thing. Mahatma Gandhi aspired to live free in a world of equality, compassion and peace. His life’s work was spent in an effort to see his countrymen free from what he considered to be a foreign and oppressive government. His nonviolent civil disobedience attracted millions and inspires people to this very day.

Here’s to a life well lived!

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