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Can we learn to practice nonviolence?

The massacre in Orlando left people feeling helpless in the face of brutal and senseless violence. Tragedies like these are not isolated incidents, but reminders that there is a predisposition to violence that is growing around the world, and we need to find and strengthen ways to diffuse the violence that is inside of all of us.

The only way to transform violence is through practicing nonviolence. But what does it mean to practice nonviolence? It involves understanding the root causes of violence, both within ourselves and in others. It’s also about cultivating an attention or mindfulness in ourselves and learning tools that we can use to change our behavior towards others and transform the situations of violence in which we find ourselves.

Many kinds of invisible violence accumulate in our lives, although we don’t often think of them as such. For example, no one talks about the human need to be treated and to treat others with care; the need to participate in making the decisions that touch our lives; the need for what we do to be meaningful for us. But when these needs are denied or frustrated, it is felt as internal violence. And we perpetuate this violence through our actions (or inaction) towards others.

This group is for those interested in working on de-normalizing and overcoming the violence that is inflicted on us, and that we inflict on others. Through readings, exercises, and seminars, we will recognize the different forms of personal and social violence and learn to give new responses in front of the violence. In this way we look to learn the steps towards building a culture of active nonviolence in our lives, in our communities, in NYC.

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