Metta’s Opinion

Global Spirit and Nonviolence

Usually I prefer not to work on Sunday evenings. It’s my one chance for a day to myself, to work on my weaving or sewing projects or even get more involved in a book that I’ve been salivating to read all week long. (Currently on my table is Kamala Subramaniam’s version of The Ramayana.) There are some occasions that warrant a slight change in routine, however. Last Sunday was one of them.

Michael Nagler and I were invited to represent the Metta Center for Nonviolence at a small gathering—about 25 people mostly representing rather effective large-scale organizations (think Pachamama Alliance, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Attitudinal Healing International, etc)—on a houseboat in Sausalito, California (it was much more house than boat). It was for strategy meeting for the PBS/Link TV Series, Global Spirit, to help them brainstorm for their third season. We were broken into three groups to have small circle discussions about what topic might be particularly relevant for the times we are in, while holding fast to their vision that timeless wisdom and a higher image of who we are must underlie the subject matter. Up our ally, alright!


Press Release: Metta Center at the UN

Metta Center Named a Special Consult to the United Nations
Petaluma nonprofit granted status with the world body

PETALUMA, CA, May 10, 2017 – The late peace researcher Kenneth Boulding once articulated a tongue-in-cheek theory called “Boulding’s First Law.” It states that if something can happen anywhere, then it is possible everywhere. As far as the Metta Center for Nonviolence is concerned, the most urgent and possible “something” needed today is nonviolence. The United Nations seems to agree: it has granted the Petaluma-based Metta Center special consultative status with its Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Consultative status permits the Metta Center to engage with ECOSOC, along with the United Nations Secretariat. The nonprofit may also participate in UN events and attend meetings at the General Assembly, Human Rights Council and other decision-making bodies. (more…)

We’ve moved: Join us!

Since mid-March we’ve been moving into a new office in downtown Petaluma. Now that we’ve vacuumed up the last bit of sawdust from the floor (all our shelves were hand-built and crafted by our own Michael Nagler), placed the final book in our Gandhi library, arranged the last piece of furniture for our nonviolence home—and inaugurated our meditation corner—we are ready to open our doors to our community.

We are now located at 205 Keller Street, Suite 202D, Petaluma, California. (For mail, please continue to use the PO Box 98 address.)

We hope you’ll join us in person. Here are a few ways of getting involved and taking action:

1. Volunteer in person at our office: Volunteering is an opportunity to put your skills to the service of the larger nonviolence movement worldwide while also deepening your learning of how nonviolence works. Choose your frequency: once a month, once a week, etc.

2. Monday Meditations: 3:15-3:45 pm every Monday to nourish the mind, body, and spirit of the Mahatmas-to-be in our midst. (Or, join us from wherever you are at, at that very time, and we’ll be united in heart.)

3. Restorative Justice Strategy Team: Meets first Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30. This is a project open to those living in Petaluma who feel passionately that the time is now for restorative justice to play a bigger role for our youth in our community’s school system. The Metta Team kindly invites all interested and committed community members to join us on our strategy team and TAKE ACTION.

4. Nonviolence Mentoring: We work with people around the world on the dynamics of nonviolence, to practice this great power more safely and more effectively. We are now offering in-person mentoring and nonviolence study at our office.

5. Family Program: Second Tuesday of the month from 3:30-4:30 pm. Bring your child to the Metta Center for a story, craft, and snack. Spaces limited.

To join any program, kindly email Stephanie Van Hook to arrange your visit:

2017 Certificate Registration Is Open!

Metta is currently accepting applications for our 2017 Certificate in Nonviolence Studies program!

Click here to apply

The six-month in-depth study of nonviolence starts on May 1. Please visit our Certificate in Nonviolence Studies home page for program details.

You can contact our Director of Education, Stephanie Knox Steiner, with any questions:

We hope you’ll join us!


Meditation in Schools: Part 3


This is the third post in a three-part series on meditation in schools. The first post discussed ways to articulate what meditation is for school audiences. The second explained some reasons why meditation makes for more beneficial restorative practices. This part will share some characteristics of an effective implementation of meditation in schools.  

Across the three posts in this series, I argue that effective implementation of meditation benefits restorative practices in schools. I seek to articulate what “effective implementation” looks like.

A review of research elucidates some of what makes for successful and effective efforts to implement practices in schools, which I will highlight here (Nation et al., 2003).

First per this review, effective programs tend to be comprehensive. That is, they tend to include multiple components that address critical domains that influence the outcomes the particular effort is trying to change. Thus, effective implementation of meditation might include creative ways to introduce meditation essentials (see item 1 in part 1) across many domains of the school environment. Moreover, it might include engaging families and communities so that students may consistently practice in ways that are relevant to all areas of their lives. (more…)

Meditation in Schools: Part 2


This is the second post in a three-part blog post series on meditation in schools. The first post discussed ways to articulate what meditation is for school audiences. This part explains why meditation makes for more beneficial restorative practices.

One can think about restorative practices as a set of practices and structures that enable schools to manage and influence student behaviors in ways that keep students engaged with their learning and development. An alternative way to think about restorative practices is that relationships are fundamental to a lot of human functioning, including learning. Restorative practices provide ways to repair harmed relationships, provide ample opportunities to create new ones, while bolstering others. However we think about what restorative practices are in schools, meditation is a practice that helps enable the goals of each. (more…)

A Plea in Support of Standing Rock

This excerpted message from Mel Duncan went out to subscribers of Nonviolent Peaceforce’s newsletter (see the original).

The clearance of Oceti Sakowin camp at Standing Rock is set to begin at 2:00 pm central time this afternoon.

Please call North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeirer and the Army Corps of Engineers to insist that law enforcement remain nonviolent, follow due process during arrests and treat all water protectors with the dignity they deserve.

Governor Doug Burgum: 701-328-2200

Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeirer: 701-667-3330

Army Corps of Engineers: 202-761-8700 (more…)

The Week in Nonviolence

I interrupt my usual sequence (resources, news, events) with a PSA:  Metta is hosting two events this coming week: the talk by impressive Palestinian activist on Tuesday, Feb. 22 and the strategy discussion cum fundraiser at Aqus Café the following evening.

OK, back to schedule.


To start with a bit of human interest: Arthur Harvey, the blueberry farmer of Canton, ME, who stocks a wide collection of books by and about Gandhi is still in business (both, blueberries and books).  I have sent many seekers his way over the years.  Happy to add that Arthur has led a successful fight for organic standards.

Here’s something we can all use today:  a guide to reliable news! (more…)