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Monday, September 2, 2013

Mahatma Gandhi

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

― Mahatma Gandhi
Indian Lawyer /Activist
1869 -1948

If you knew that you would live forever or at least as long as the universe exists, what would you do with your life?  Would you still write?  Or paint?  Or sing?  Would you obtain  a hundred college degrees?  Write a thousand novels?  Paint a million paintings?  What would you study?  History?  Science?  Religion?  Literature?  Why would you study?  For knowledge?  For wisdom?  Why would you create anything?  You would outlive the shelf life any novel you wrote or painting you painted.

Does the fact we know that we will die influence what we do in life?  If you were told that you had only six months to live, what would you do?  Spend the time with your loved ones?  Withdrawal from those around you?  Finish that great American novel that you have been working on for thirty years?  Travel the world and see all the places that you have wanted to visit?

There are only 24 hours in any given day.  What did you do with the last 24 hours of your life?  What are you going to do with the next 24 hours of your life?  Are you focused on what is important to you?  Or are you procrastinating?  Do you believe that there will always be a tomorrow?  If you don't have time today, maybe mañana?  We choose how we spend every minute of the 1440 minutes we are given each day.  What choices are you making?  Are they the right choices?

Creative Practice
Study how you are spending the 1440 minutes of your day?  Are you wasting any of those precious minutes?  Can you find an extra thirty minutes to focus on your creative work?

Mahatma Gandhi was born in India and studied law in England.  He became an advocate for the rights of Indians, first in South Africa and then in India.  He became the leader of India's independence movement, organizing non-violent forms of civil disobedience.

After studying law in England, Gandhi returned to India where he failed to establish a law practice in part because he was too shy to speak in court.  At 24, he accepted a job in South Africa with Dada Abdulla & Co, an Indian firm.  He worked as a legal representative for the Muslim Indian Traders.  Gandhi spent 21 years in South Africa where he formed many of his political views, ethics and leadership skills.  Gandhi represented the legal rights of wealthy Muslims and indentured Hindu laborers.

In South Africa, Gandhi faced discrimination.  He was thrown off a train for refusing to move from first class.  He was beaten by a stagecoach driver for refusing to give up his seat to a European passenger.  He was barred from many hotels.  The racism, prejudice and injustice against Indians in South Africa shaped Gandhi's social activism and awakened him to social injustice.  His fight for the rights of Indians in South Africa helped him to develop his non-violent forms of civil disobedience.

Gandhi returned to India permanently in 1915.  He joined the Indian National Congress and became its leader in 1920.  He spent the rest of his life working for the independence of India from England.  Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948 by a Hindu nationalist.  Over two million people joined the five-mile long funeral march.

Gandhi was a prolific writer.  His complete writings were published in the 1960s and comprised about 50,000 pages published in 100 volumes. His autobiography is called, The Story of My Experiments with Truth.