Netflix delivered the DVD of "Gandhi."
I had placed it in our “desired movie queue” months ago, when the echo of fallen buildings was still fresh.
Having just finished viewing the film, I feel changed.
I feel inspired. I feel unsettled…but in a way that must be good.
I admit to knowing almost nothing about Gandhi before today. I knew of his teachings mostly through my knowledge of Martin Luther King Jr. And a handful of wonderful quotes.
One of my friends and heroes, Valerie, signs off every email with the Gandhi quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
I thought that quote was brilliant.
Now, seeing it in the context of Gandhi’s life, I am rattled by its truth.
I recognize that I watched a Hollywood recreation, but it was magnificent. Ben Kingsly was amazing in the title role.
As I spew praise, I realize it takes no courage to rave about a 20 year-old critically acclaimed film. But in the same vein, it should not take courage to embrace the teachings contained in that film…regardless of the year they were spoken.
I wonder if I have the courage to fight in the manner Gandhi did.
I often break up the “Love Army” into two camps: The Dark Fighters and the Light Spreaders.
The Dark Fighters clothe the naked and feed the hungry.
The Light Spreaders bring smiles and ease self-hatred.
Gandhi seemed to be both.
Fighting injustice while spreading dignity.
That takes a special kind of courage. And makes me question my separation of the two “camps.” Perhaps there is only one choice. Towards light or away.
Perhaps being totally committed to the path towards light makes “picking your battles” unnecessary. You simply walk the path.
I did notice that Gandhi placed much importance on Press and the spreading of information.
I bet he would have liked the Internet.
I wonder what he would have done with the power of a wired world. Can you imagine his weblog?
Is there someone like him online now?
I know I lack the courage to be that person…but maybe someday. It is good to learn of great men….So that you do no limit your own mind’s expectations of yourself.
I have written before on the significance of the sentiment “Turn the other cheek.”
Gandhi spoke of this, too.
When someone challenged him and said they thought Christ meant it allegorically. Gandhi replied, “I’m not so sure. I suspect he meant you must show courage. Be willing to take a blow…several blows…to show you will not strike back nor will you be turned aside. And when you do that, it calls on something in human nature. Something that makes his hatred for you decrease and his respect for you increase.”
It is this type of magic that is our only hope. The shifting of minds. Shifting that spreads and is taught to children.
The recognition, deep in human nature, that we are connected.
(View a Gandhi-inspired art piece I made in Sept.)