Description: In this TeleSeminar we will go into the connection between person power, constructive program, and non-violent resistance (the three phases of our Roadmap), and begin with the real beginning: how can each of us empower her or himself through spiritual disciplines like meditation and the use of a mantram, along with other tools for realizing our highest potential as ‘spiritual warriors’.
The approach at the Metta Center has always been “big picture:” Nonviolence, when properly understood, is the key issue underlying virtually every problem in our present system, and so we try to ground ourselves in a basic understanding of this force that Gandhi called “the greatest force available to humanity” and work out the structure of its applications on down to the most practical details. Transition towns for us, as you can see from our Roadmap, are a key element in transformation toward a livable future. They are the perfect testing ground for the strategies of a life based on nonviolence, which implies “perfect justice all round in every department of life” – including humanity’s living relationship with nature. They are the equivalent of Gandhi’s ashrams (he founded four of them in his career), serving as headquarters and training centers for revolution both in its active sense, where it involves direct resistance, and its constructive sense – what Buckminster Fuller called building the world you want as a powerful basis for putting the one you don’t want out of its misery.
Michael Nagler is Professor emeritus of Classics and Comparative Literature at UC, Berkeley, where he co-founded the Peace and Conflict Studies Program in which he taught the immensely popular nonviolence course that was webcast in its entirety as well as PACS 90, “Meditation” and a sophomore seminar called “Why Are We Here? Great Writing on the Meaning of Life” for fifteen years.
Among other awards, he received the Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for “Promoting Gandhian Values Outside India” in 2007, joining other distinguished contributors to nonviolence as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and peace scholar and activist Johan Galtung in receiving this honor.
He is the author of The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide to Practical Action (2014) as well as The Search for a Nonviolent Future, which received a 2002 American Book Award and has been translated into Korean, Arabic, Italian and other languages; Our Spiritual Crisis: Recovering Human Wisdom in a Time of Violence (2005); The Upanishads (with Sri Eknath Easwaran, 1987), and other books as well as many articles on peace and spirituality.
He has spoken for campus, religious, and other groups on peace and nonviolence for many years, especially since September 11, 2001. He has consulted for the U.S. Institute of Peace and many other organizations and is the founder and President of the board of the Metta Center for Nonviolence Education. Michael has worked on nonviolent intervention since the 1970’s and served on the Interim Steering Committee of the Nonviolent Peaceforce.
Michael is a student of Sri Eknath Easwaran, Founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, and has lived at the Center’s ashram in Marin County since 1970.
Stephanie N. Van Hook is passionate about the power nonviolence and constructive conflict resolution, especially in its practical applications in early childhood education and unarmed peacekeeping.
She has been working with the Metta Center since 2007, starting as our Executive Director in 2010. She hosts Peace Paradigm Radio every other Friday on KWMR. In her free time, Stephanie is a Montessori educator at Red Barn Montessori, in Petaluma, California, and draws insight and encouragement from the works of the great feminist peace educator, Dr. Maria Montessori. She is associated with the Green Shadow Cabinet, Peaceworkers, and the US Peace Corps (Benin 2005-2007). In 2015, she wrote a column on Gandhi’s wisdom for our times for every day of the year. Now, among other things, she is working on projects to share Gandhi with children and is Admin of the Facebook page Montessori-Peace Education.
She is a novice weaver and a very slow knitter, but primarily a spiritual aspirant. She insists that she draws her all of her energy from a daily meditation practice and the gentle, magnanimous spirits of the beloved children at her school. If she knows anything at all, it is because mentors and guides have taken her under their wings. And she is deeply aware that if she accomplishes anything at the Metta Center, it’s because of the dedication and love of the entire team with whom she is honored to work.