In his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments With Truth, Gandhi recounts the long story of his experiments with nonviolence in the most intimate detail: in what he ate, what he wore, and in his commitment to Brahmacharya, but he always insisted that nonviolence required first and foremost a shift in mindset: “Nonviolence, to be a potent force, must begin with the mind. Nonviolence of the mere body without the cooperation of the mind…has no potency.”For Gandhi, nonviolence emerged from a central awareness: a natural and universal love for humankind: “Nonviolence is a power which can be wielded equally by all – children, young men and women or grown‐up people – provided they have a living faith in the God of Love and have therefore equal love for all mankind. When nonviolence is accepted as the law of life, it must pervade the whole being and not be applied to isolated acts”.
It is important to understand that nonviolence is not merely a method to be applied in the moment of heated conflict. It cannot work if our hearts are filled with anger and our bodies are tense with the urge to retaliate. For Gandhi nonviolence represented a deep and sustained commitment: “For me, nonviolence is not a mere philosophical principle. It is the rule and the breath of my life….it is a matter not of the intellect, but of the heart.”