May 31, 2021
Ask Deepak

Non-violence or Retribution.


When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.


I like the philosophy of non-violence, but if we all turned the other cheek, so to speak, when we are hit, would we solve the problem of war and terrorism? Didn’t Gandhi say that tolerating injustice is as bad as perpetrating it? But he also said an eye for an eye would make the whole world go blind. And where does forgiveness figure in all of this?


There has always been a war between two teachings, non-violence and a just revenge.  Holding fast to the doctrine of non-violence, whether expressed as “turn the other cheek”, seems desirable to any sane adult. The dark consequences of war and crime have poisoned human existence for untold centuries.  Yet complete pacifism runs contrary to psychology and sense of balance and closure. Each of us longs to strike out against our enemies, as small children will do automatically unless they are held back when they’re angry. We believe in justice, and there’s no denying the saying that evil flourishes when good men do nothing.

It would appear that this conflict will never end at this level. But let’s look at where it originated, which is inside ourselves. Human beings have a divided nature, and we struggle to obey both sides.  Since the struggle has led nowhere but to more violence on a wider scale than ever, it’s sensible to seek a different solution. As always in such matters, the level of the solution doesn’t lie at the level of the problem. Struggle breeds more struggle; violence leads to more violence. The world’s wisdom traditions have been preoccupied with relieving the kind of suffering that violence brings. Their answer, if I can reduce it to a common teaching, is to seek unity inside oneself. The end of the divided self is the only answer to violence, and the answer appears one person at a time. Today, the same as five centuries ago or fifty centuries, the deepest purpose of life is to rise to a level of consciousness where the fear and anger born of duality are transcended. Once transcendence is experienced, you are no longer the pacifist or the warrior. Something new unfolds that cannot be predicted when you are still caught up in the struggle.



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