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Nonviolence in the life of everyone – experience practice

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Nonviolence in the life of everyone – experience practice

We bring to your attention the response of one of our readers to the lecture course “Theory and Practice of Non-violence” by Elena Demidova. It may be interesting as the experience of the practical application of the ideas of non-violence in everyday life.


We have once asked ourselves this difficult, unambiguous answer, as a rule, at a very early age. But today we will turn to him again and ask ourselves: How to treat the fact that our daily security and tranquility is ensured by the threat of violence against people?

It's no secret that the opportunity to engage in charity, business, science, creativity, help people, create families, travel, build houses and raise children – all this is available to us today, provided that every minute armed people are on guard of our peace of mind. , ready, if necessary, to use their weapons against those who decide to disrupt the order established in society.

This, as you understand, is about the power structures for various purposes (police, army, special services), which we daily provide with our own labor and our own means. But mainly – about the paradox of the situation in which the calm, ordinary course of our daily life is endangered by the threat of violence, and in many cases by the direct bringing of injuries and death to people.


When I first encountered this problem and the dominant, very, very loyal attitude towards her in society, I involuntarily asked myself: “Why do we continue to live, as if nothing had happened, knowing that the price of our peace of mind is fear of violence, which we cause in people, and the actual violence itself is terrible, cruel, inhuman? Why doesn't it care and hurt us? ”

In the process of discussing these issues (both with representatives of the Orthodox Church and with ordinary people) it was unexpectedly discovered that any attempts to find out the true attitude of a person to this problem encounter at best misunderstanding and indifference, at worst – some kind of internal resistance and bitterness. In the majority of cases, the following arguments were made in support and approval of the mechanism of violence and armed defense:

Christian morality does not condemn weapons; it is used only as a deterrent; we consider this a “lesser evil” and do not want war or unrest to knock on our door.

At the same time, it was very rare to admit the obvious fact that often we just turn a blind eye to it. We close our eyes not only on the mechanism of threats and violence itself, but also on our support for this mechanism, which occurs day after day in three directions at once:

1. thoughts – when we think of him as something quite natural

2. words – when we speak of it as a matter of course

3. chores – when we provide it for granted

Indeed, referring to myself — a person who does not like violence and cruelty — I saw that I myself follow the traditional way of life from day to day, I do not feel much remorse and do not even try to learn not to need or engage in violence by people. I found my tranquility in those “small good deeds” that I tried to do every day, while not thinking about the fact that I really help with one hand, and with the other I kill and maim people, not only their bodies, but also their souls.

It was only when I came into close contact with the consequences of this bloody defense mechanism, that it became clear that it was impossible to continue living a normal life in exchange for the fear, anguish and death of people. It was necessary to choose:

or continue to do good deeds with one hand every day, and with the other to support the threat of violence and its very use or, leaving aside all other deeds and undertakings, learn not to need or participate in the killing and mutilation of people


Meanwhile, the horror and hopelessness of the situation of a person who has realized his terrible role in this mechanism and his dependence on him, is that for the most difficult and seemingly intractable situations of our existence, we can always find some advice or instruction in the sacred books of the past, in worldly wisdom, in kindhearted and sympathetic people. But by asking “how to live in order not to participate in threats, crippling and killing people?”, You can look for the answer all your life and never find it.

Indeed, it is impossible to hide from this participation either outside the walls of the monastery, either by joining any group of society, or by being left alone with yourself – simply because at some point (your teeth hurt, salt ran out, shoes were worn out) at least for a short time to “get involved” in the mechanism of violence and use, if not itself, then its fruits And I could not refuse completely and overnight from the benefits of civilization – because of my own fear, lack of necessary skills and poor health.

The solution was not found immediately. And to decide on his performance – also failed immediately. This is its meaning: every day do everything in my power to get one step further from violence. Refuse to participate in it as much as possible. To do this consistently, not knowing to what degree of “non-participation” I can reach, not knowing when, how and how this path will end.

What does this mean in practice? In fact, following very simple principles:

Keeping distance from all that is violent Moderation, simplification, self-reliance Caring for others and enlightenment

In my case it looked like this. I left my usual work and the distorted environment in which I spent most of my life, changed the comfort of the metropolis to the simple life in a lost, uncrowded village, and began to learn agriculture and animal care. He switched to simple food, moved into a house without amenities, and refused most of the goods and services that he used several years ago. He ceased to participate in secular conversations praising the foundations of society and the valor of their defense (in fact, violence and cruelty), he ceased to maintain a good half, if not more, of relationships tied to money, services and everything that distorts sincere, trusting relationships . And, finally, he ceased to believe violence as an indispensable companion of his life, and all the more so with his commitment, regarding each new day as an opportunity to learn to be one step further away from him.


Did it give any quick, immediate result? Not. But this gave rise to a way of life that definitely could not arise in its usual course in a once-established manner: to enjoy the fruits of violence less and less, thereby taking less and less part in it.

This made it possible to learn how to put into practice a simple rule: if you can give up something that is violent, give up. If you can not use the products and services that require for their existence threats, crippling and killing people – go without them. You can sacrifice your desire for self-realization and prosperity – renounce. You can somehow help your neighbor – help, but only by the fact that at least a little will remove his dependence on violence, and will not drive him even deeper.

Yes, I still remain lazy, miserable and dependent on various “benefits” of civilization (and most of all, I’m likely to remain dependent on some of them for the rest of my days), and you can always find where to reproach me. Yes, not everyone will be able to use this method, and for sure there is something more suitable for you, your strengths, and your capabilities. But no matter how it looks, changing and interrogating our way of life by any means available to us, we are step by step:

we cease to take from people what they are ready to defend with arms in hand, we stop wasting precious time of their lives on their needs; we learn to do without provoking them to violence towards ourselves, giving less and less reasons for envy and aggression; We are unaccustomed to taking Caesar from Caesar, freeing ourselves from participating in supporting violence and freeing others from it.

And the further I go along this path, the more it becomes obvious that every person is able to stop the violence in his own life – just as much as his desire to do so is great.


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