In our novel NEXUS there are several situations where one of the characters will follow their higher guidance in order to take appropriate action in a situation. Also, to apply the process of following our higher guidance in our day to day lives will invariably result in increased non-violent approaches to resolve conflicts with more peaceful outcomes to experience.
The following is an excerpt from some of my relevant research about Gandhi and the inner voice, that may expand understanding about higher guidance.
|“The only tyrant that I accept in the world is the still small voice within me”|
Mahatma Gandhi, Spiritual leader who showed importance of non-violence. His ideas influenced the American Civil Rights Movement and various other non-violent movements throughout the world. At the core of non-violence is non-cooperation with an unjust system and to listen to the “still small voice within”
It must be stated at the outset that according to Gandhi, the inner voice cannot be fully defined in words. However, he attempts to describe the inner voice in order that our understanding of it may be somewhat enhanced. He explains that Truth is what the inner voice reveals. Furthermore, the inner voice may be described as one’s conscience. Gandhi refers to the inner voice as a Truth force or Soul force that has the power to elicit the Divine in us. He urges his fellow humans to follow the inner voice as opposed to following the dictates of modern civilization. This voice would affirm our commitment to non-violence, since its compassionate quality will lead us to peaceful solution to conflicts in life. So the purpose of listening and responding to the inner voice is for positive, progressive reality transformation.His response to the inner voice may be described as a kind of spiritual insight, that enhances one’s sense of discrimination; to know right from wrong, as well as when and if one should take action.
Gandhi’s most vivid description of the inner voice was given at the time of his decision to undertake a fast in 1933:
“For me the voice of God, of conscience, of Truth, or the inner voice, or the ‘Still Small Voice’ mean one and the same thing. I saw no form…what I did hear was like a voice from afar and yet quite near. It was as unmistakable as some human voice and definitely speaking to me, and irresistible. I was not dreaming at the time I heard the voice. The determination was made accordingly, the date and hour of the fast were fixed.”
With the above quote, we are provided with insight into the workings of Gandhi’s mind, especially in terms of his understanding and direct experience of the inner voice. The inner voice may further be described as not a message, but rather a compulsive self manifestation of Truth which has to be obeyed, as the only true way to act in a situation. Thus, one becomes impelled to action by the inner voice rather than compelled to action as a response to one’s external environment.
Gandhi feels that intuition (inner voice) is the heart of reason. Reason however, can become the crowning glory of the inner voice; for Gandhi advocates that one check (by means of reason) the actual results that are accomplished. He would, however, have us give primary attention to the means (a non-violent response led by the inner voice as “the mystery of all mysteries”). Gandhi says that “the inner voice does not suppress reason but rather sanctifies reason”. He described the inner voice as follows:
“Even as the bestirring of true love necessarily expresses itself in as many (sometimes unconscious and effortless) ways, so too a person who has heard even a whisper of the inner voice cannot but follow it.”
Guided by the inner voice, Gandhi expressed his heart’s compassion and decided to undertake other fasts as form of self-sacrifice through which he wished to arouse compassion in other people’s hearts. He fasted many times to end bloodshed between Hindus and Muslims even in his last fast when he was seventy-eight.
Many leaders since Gandhi have also turned to non-violence to resolve conflicts, such as, Dr. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama. The basis of non-violence comes from the idea that rulers derive their power from the people. If people no longer support an unjust system, then it will fall. Of course, non-violence can be applied in areas outside politics, including in families, schools and local communities. As Gandhi points out, its application becomes clear when we listen to our conscience.