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Non Violence: Your Wealth and Mine

¿Are there teachers or not? ¿Is there a government or not? ¿Who takes care of us? If there are children in the streets, if there are explosives sold in El Alto in daylight (one of the most violent cities in Bolivia), it is nobody’s fault, even less YOUR fault, dear reader, because YOU are not to be blamed.

Of course it is not your fault. How, you wonder, to be guilty of what others do?, aren’t there ‘instances’ appointed to this? Where is the church? Human rights? The Police? Let them take care of it, let them assume their role.

As easy as that, we are exempt of all blame. You look at the world, or your street for the sake of it, as in a video while you, or you sir or madam, comfortably seated, are commenting on the movie.

There is a problem here. The video could include your brothers, kids or grandchildren, dead in explosions or torn by drugs. But if you are single, powerful, rich, white, indigenous in power, or mestizo with a lot of money, this does not matter, because you are not guilty.

And the movie goes on and you walk in the streets and you stumble into poor people who ask you for something, and at home, of course, there is always somebody who ‘bothers’ you, with things like explosives that detonate in the hands of somebody, or a nose that becomes sick because of sniffing too much cocaine. Minor details.

What matters is that you are not guilty. If people are gathering in street corners yelling for something, it is their problem; why wouldn’t they leave you alone? They wouldn’t, dear reader, because peace does not belong to anyone, not even to those who say they fight for it. Let alone those who say there won’t be peace until they get one thing or another, because they are the first to sow poverty.

‘Not one leaf moves without the permission of the tree’, is the Chinese saying that I want you to remember now for the rest of your life. You, being far away or near, gave permission so the indigenous man from Potosi would die trying to preserve his land this week.

You also gave permission so that Mrs. Jennifer Wissemberg, wife of the former National Director of Customs Cesar Lopez, be assaulted, stabbed 20 times and beaten until she lost one eye.

You gave permission also for someone to send the explosive letter to Mrs. Surco, who is now about to lose one eye. Even with the money to fly to the USA to be taken care of, her health is uncertain. And she almost died.

Not knowing this doesn’t mean it is false. We all give permission for this when we allow poverty to fill our souls. Thought I meant money poverty, right? Well, I didn’t, as this kind of poverty is the one easy to fix.

I am talking about the spiritual poverty that is invading us. Yes. Every time you shout in the streets bullying somebody, you are being violent, you mortally wound dialogue, and you get ill from spiritual poverty.

Same happens at home. Every time you come in drunk or high, and shout out that you work so hard to give everyone their way, you mortally wound the peace of your home. Because you must act non violently if peace is to exist in your home.

All the same, for peace to be within your country and community, all of us need that you BE NON VIOLENT. You see, every time the term peace comes up, being peaceful doesn’t, and neither does being non violent.

This is because it is convenient for the ones trafficking with peace to become rich or powerful, to talk about peace as something that only beauty queens talk about, not as something you SHOULD have in your everyday life.

The monster of spiritual poverty has two heads: violence and ignorance. But violence is the mother of all miseries. So when you and I assume that we are responsible for all violence, we stop being … miserable, spiritually poor.

The first step is to stand up for yourself and others firmly and proudly in every occasion without violence, the second is to live up to highly valued principles of integrity.

The possibility of deciding to be wealthy of spirit is free. And it is tempting, attractive, and it brings the possibility of BEING the difference to your fingertips The true wealth, is not the property of anyone, it is free as the air we breath, and equally necessary…

Voices of Our Future Assignments

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 31 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most forgotten corners of the world. Meet Us.


Whether you include this in our op-ed, I am finding myself wanting to know your best tip for people to move toward spiritual abundance. It's so true what you say... if you smile at someone on the street, they'll likely pass it along. If you scowl and do something rude, they will just as likely pass it along as well... especially if they were already having a bad day. Why add to it!? And, my experience is that if I pass along bad juu-juu, it will come back at me two-fold.

Jennifer Ruwart
Chief Collaborator
JR Collaborations

jap21's picture


I thought I was stating exactly that: Spiritual Wealth begins with non violent behavior! Because violence is the mother of all misery, we can start by being non violent in our everyday actions, without being less firm or proud.

I guess I need to state that more clearly. Thanks for pointing this out dear Jennifer.



Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America

Jennifer Ruwart's picture

I think you were clear

Sorry if I was confusing. I was simply asking for your best suggestion/s. What works for you? Or have you seen work for other people? For example, does smiling help? Counting to ten before speaking if someone has upset you? Do you meditate? I was asking to satisfy my own personal curiosity and desire for personal growth. I love to know how other people put nonviolence into practice. I only think you should suggestions if that resonates with you. I love your op-ed!

P.S. I am new to op-eds, too. Take my feedback lightly!

Jennifer Ruwart
Chief Collaborator
JR Collaborations

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