Kingian Nonviolence – Avoid internal violence of the spirit, as well as external violence

This principle focuses on the internal violence that can play out in conflicts, either towards others or ourselves – blame, judgement, hatred, guilt, depression, burnout and ill will, a kind of violence to our own spirit or sense of wellbeing. In a way this principle is a commitment to accompanying ourselves and reconnecting to care, including to seek support if we need it.

We explored options available to use to make sense of the world when someone says or does something that harms us:

  • Blame the other person, e.g. labelling them stupid, evil or something else.
  • Blame ourselves, e.g. believing it must have been something we did wrong or misjudged.
  • Recognising both our needs and theirs and feeling the emotional impact of that, responding empathically.

In my own upbringing, the focus was very much on intention and what was right and wrong, and therefore blame. It is a constant relearning to wonder and inquire what is underneath, what is the impact and what were the needs trying to be met by an action.

Within this we spent some time exploring Rage, and how it connects to Love – how it can show us what we most deeply love and want to protect…

  • Rage arises when we lose care and when seeking is blocked (for example if it doesn’t seem safe to ask for what we want)
  • When rage is blocked and we can’t go to seeking what we love, we often experience collapse, (for example depression)
  • We also experience rage when coming out of a ‘freeze’ immobilisation response (often through trauma)
  • Rage can connect us to what we most deeply love and want to protect (for example our freedom or autonomy)

Poet David Whyte suggests “Anger is the deepest form of compassion” – we can use this to find out ‘what is being loved with this force’?. When we feel ‘Angry At…’ (at someone we want to be different), we can honour that as love and transform it to ‘Angry That…’ (connecting to what we love).

To me this principle reminds me to connect to the needs underneath what is going on, to self empathy and empathy for others, to seeking support when I feel stuck in the story and judgement, and to see this internal violence as part of continuing the cycle.

Next up: Principle 6 – The universe is on the side of Justice