To Resist or Not To Resist? That Is The Question…


Does spiritual life rule out fighting against injustice in the world? Or is, as many teachings say, everything always all right out there, just the way it is?

If we choose to act, how far are we prepared to go? Is resorting to violence ever a viable option? 

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”John F. Kennedy

“And every day on evening news they feed you fear for free,
And you so numb you watch the cops choke out a man like me,
And ’til my voice goes from a shriek to whisper, ‘I can’t breathe’,
And you sit there in the house on couch and watch it on TV,
The most you give’s a Twitter rant and call it a tragedy,
But truly the travesty, you’ve been robbed of your empathy.” Killer Mike, ‘Walking in the Snow’

Spiritual conversations often emphasize the importance of overcoming our resistance and accepting the world for what it is, exactly as it is. However, there are times when we don’t need to overcome our resistance, we need to fully inhabit our resistance. We can’t simply accept what is, we need to put ourselves on the line for what can and should be.

How can we bring more mindfulness, skillfulness, and embodiment to our resistance, even while seeing everything as always-already perfect? And what is the role of violence in protest culture? Is some degree of violence necessary in order to create real social change? When is violence appropriate, when can it help your cause, and when can it only work against your cause?

From Inhabit: Your Resistance, an article at

Justin Miles, Ryan Oelke, and Corey deVos


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33 Responses to To Resist or Not To Resist? That Is The Question…

  1. simond says:

    Who wouldn’t have seen the need for violence during the Second World War? We were forced to fight against an ideology of Nazism. Simples. We had to, as your piece indicated, put ourselves on the line.

    War and violence against tyranny and bullying is simple to justify by the victims of such behaviour, but not of course, by the perpetrators.

    In the same way, if you are personally physically attacked, who is not going to defend themselves? If you attack my partner, I will defend her with my life. That’s a natural response to being attacked. Defending yourself doesn’t mean you’re full of hatred, so the violence you display is justifiable.

    Social and political change, to promote justice or to fight injustice, is altogether a different matter, and full of inconsistencies and contradictions. We can look at history and see how the War of Independence in the USA is seen by the Americans as justified, but violence against Americans elsewhere is largely denoted as “terrorism”. Or, “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”

    In recent times with the ‘Me Too’ and the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaigns, a reckoning of sorts is taking place for those who feel abused, hurt and in pain about the past. In some senses this is a collective demonstration against social injustice and inequality. In other ways it is an expression of the personal pain people have faced, or are still facing.

    The issue, for me, is that social justice warriors combine their personal pain, born from living itself, with a political or social objective. Life has elements of suffering and pain that are not the result of social issues, but psychological or even so-called spiritual matters. It is not always easy to see this if you are raised in an environment that is socially, economically or politically negative. The social justice warriors seek justice or equality where there is none. Life isn’t equal, each is born with a natural intelligence, but through varying circumstances, the impulse to improve oneself or one’s situation varies from person to person.

    As we’ve seen with the BLM movement there are many people of colour who do not see the movement positively, precisely because they recognise the failure of any social movement that focuses on black lives rather than ALL lives.

    As for any focus on violence as a means to promote or provide equality or justice, there are no rules or perfect situations. History is full of violenct confrontations that have led to change, and also to more repression and no solutions.

    As for the “life is perfect as it is” in terms of so-called spiritually: this is spiritual nonsense and is more often than not a result of some experience or another, often associated with joyful or blissful feelings. Perfection, in this sense, never lasts and leads many to hope, pray, wish for more of the same experience. Our feelings of bliss are always transitory and no one leads a perfect blissful life, without suffering of some sort.

    The trick is to know this consciously, and therefore to accept life as it is. Change the circumstances you’re in, if you are unhappy or sad, poor, or mistreated. If you are unable to do so, then the task is to accept it as it is. If there is a problem in our lives, we take the necessary action to make changes. There is no room for complaining or blaming.

    Taking the emotion out of ourselves, and dealing with suffering and pain leads to a deeper acceptance and recognition that Life is perfect as it is, whatever the momentary feeling circumstance of your life.

    • satyadeva says:

      “The issue, for me, is that social justice warriors combine their personal pain, born from living itself, with a political or social objective. Life has elements of suffering and pain that are not the result of social issues, but psychological or even so-called spiritual matters.”

      Good point, simond, and one which is rarely made in public debates.

  2. Simond, why to ignore Social issues?

    Maybe a white Anglo-Saxon can think so. We are all carrying some kind of herd mentality, including those who think they are individuals. For example, all the western sannyasins think almost in a same way about late master.

    Social issues play a very significant role, not less important than psychological or spiritual matters.

    • satyadeva says:

      “For example, all the western sannyasins think almost in a same way about late master.”

      Really, Shantam? How many western sannyasins have you personally come across recently?

      And what do you think they think?

  3. kavita says:

    Violence in any case, whether individual/national, is not justifiable, self-defence is.

    Any situation if not dealt with sensitively becomes an issue, whether individual/social; sensitivity of course is subjective & also relative!

    In my experience, probably most social issues are fought basically as individual self-defence tactics & in some cases due to personal/psychological insecurities.

    Would like to share this story:
    Fifteen years back, due to noise pollution created by a medicine factory which in itself was against residential norms, this tenant happened to be the younger brother of a current Member of Parliament & felt he had the right to a lot of other irresponsible actions.

    No one was as affected as I was as that factory was right above my bedroom. After discussion with this tenant I saw no solution & so approached the State authorities as the local authority was under this MP brother. This tenant had to vacate the house soon, the owner was Sw.Jayantibhai, and his caretaker told me later that tenant had not paid for many months & this was good riddance…!

  4. satchit says:

    Accepting everything as it is includes also accepting the will for change, if it comes.

  5. Sannyasnews has lost its mojo.

    Such relevant questions need to be discussed not hair style of Bush & Blair!

    • satyadeva says:

      Perhaps you could ‘walk your talk’ by answering my question to you of 10 days ago, Shantam?

      • “How many western sannyasins have you personally come across recently?”

        Two. At the naturist lake, one talks about Pune One all the time, the second is with John.

        The second one, after seeing my facebook videos, asked, “How long will you remain interested in a dead camel?”

        I explained him, for Indians it was not a dead camel but the best an Indian could offer to the world. I don´t mean talks of Osho.

        Shantam, is “John” John de Ruiter?

    • Lokesh says:

      The current problems with SN boil down to a lack of technical know-how on SD’s part and a lack of creative input from the bloggers. SD has done his best to keep the site going. Unfortunately that is not quite enough. There needs to be new topics posted when a thread has run its course and is going stale and the topics need to be more interesting, controversial and intelligent in order to stimulate response. That is a responsibility that lies with the bloggers.

      SD cannot run the show and also supply a constant stream of fresh topics. That is asking too much. It is up to us to supply good topics, while SD struggles to keep the show on the road.

      • kavita says:

        Lokesh, what you say is true, SD is doing his best to keep SN afloat.

        As for me I can’t churn in/out topics but maybe just a suggestion: can we share how each one is coping/dealing with our current situation?

        Or maybe someone can suggest a better & interesting topic.

        • Lokesh says:

          Hi Kavita, my life has not changed much due to covid 19. I live a quiet country life. When in public I wear a mask. I take the pandemic seriously.

          The lockdown period brought a lot of silence.
          Osho got it right: be aware, be present.

          Recently a strong sense of gratitude has been washing over me.

          • kavita says:

            Hi Lokesh,
            Well, I do wear a scarf to cover my nose & mouth, & use a hand sanitizer always.

            Unlock is steadily getting the decibels to rise.

            For me, not much changed after corona restrictions, except till end of May my sleep pattern turned upside down, now back to rising early.

            Only I have to go downstairs to collect my online purchases! Also I started to cook by myself ! My family has started to enquire about me much more than before & I seem to enjoy it mostly!

            Yes, strong sense of gratitude is only increasing by the day!

      • satchit says:

        What is a “good topic”, Lokesh?
        How do you count it? On the number of comments?

        • Lokesh says:

          A good topic for SN is an intelligent piece of writing intended to promote debate on subjects that are both current and relevant to Osho and the life process for people interested in the inner life.

          Ramana was once asked what is the ego and what is the self? His concise reply was, when you look out that is the ego, when you look in that is the self.

          • satchit says:

            Ego out – self in.

            So what does this mean?
            That a Buddha can never become a Che Guavara?

            • satyadeva says:

              It’s usually the other way round isn’t it, Satchit? In our times, ie at least the last 300 or so years anyway.

              Although it seems to have been different in the ancient days, if we’re to believe the Bhagavad Gita. But then, that seems to have been a less complex, but in some (perhaps many?) ways a more advanced civilisation than our fragmented, often degenerate one.

              This might be an over-sentimental view of a mythical ‘Golden Age’ too far away to substantiate but myths are extremely powerful and that one’s been going strong for a very long time.

              • Klaus says:

                Your comment corresponds to a saying that nowadays – in the more fragmented times – people cannot experience deeper levels of Jhana/Samadhi due to too much activity and disconnectedness from nature.

                Therefore, more active meditations and catharsis were the methods emphasised by Osho.

                Still, there are modern times meditation teachers specialising in the “jhanas”:
                Shaila Catherine:

              • satchit says:

                If you ask me, SD, I say a Buddha is unlimited.

                He can become whatever it happens to him:
                a carpenter, a taxidriver, a Che Guevara, a professor of philosophy.

                • satyadeva says:

                  Perhaps so, Satchit, although I wouldn’t really know, and I haven’t seen or heard of anyone like Che Guevara since ancient times also previously having ‘enlightened credentials’. Have you?

                • satchit says:

                  “enlightened credentials”…

                  The word ‘enlightenment’ does not belong to our Western cultural field.

                  SD, nobody knows if it exists or not. Maybe it is just a device to help people.

                  At the most you can say if it smells of something, like it smells of spaghetti.

                • satyadeva says:

                  Interesting that this should arise at the end of this thread as the next article (due this morning) is on this very topic. Synchronicity, or what?!

                • satyadeva says:

                  “Nobody knows if it exists or not” – but isn’t this self-evidently true of all internal states and experience reported by others, Satchit?

                  On basic levels, especially within one’s own culture (or sub-culture), much of our life is similar to everyone else’s and we can probably pretty accurately more or less ‘know’ (or think we know) what others are going through by reading the signs of their speech and body language, and even on other levels by how they express themselves in more sophisticated ways like writing, music or art, although this becomes increasingly less so when we consider those who move beyond the familar that’s common to all of us.

                  That’s why we’re fascinated by tales of ‘experiential outliers’, the more extreme the better, eg ‘miracles’, enormous wealth and/or power, fame, war, murder, imprisonment – and, of course, ‘spiritual heroism’.

                  Even on basic levels, although very often we can draw parallels and make assumptions based on our own subjectivity and conditioning, can we ever actually 100% know exactly what is going on inside the other? Even when they say they love us? The answer has to be no, doesn’t it? Which is a pretty radical truth to consider. The implication being that fundamentally, behind everyday appearances, we are alone in the universe.

                  Perhaps when it comes to claimed ‘enlightenment’ we simply have nothing to fall back upon, except the sense of ‘rightness’ we may feel in the presence of such a person. And whether being with them and following their teaching is helpful.

            • Lokesh says:

              The idea that an enlightened man would want to become anyone is absurd.

              Satchit, I feel you are just looking for a reaction. I do not have the impression that there is anything much behind your words. It is the reaction that counts, no matter what form it takes.

              I feel like I am wasting my time responding to your shallow comments. I do not enjoy wasting my time. I think you are bored.

  6. “…and the topics need to be more interesting, controversial and intelligent in order to stimulate response.”

    One can look at the history of articles, with humble pride I can say Lokesh and Shantam have provided maximum content for such articles.

    In my opinion, interesting, controversial and intelligent content is one which pushes Pundit like Arpana to his abusive best.

    For months I have submitted minimum four topics worthy of a new article, they were ignored and put in the freezer.

    I use facebook to its best. There is a wide audience and readers of my written and video posts.
    Yet sannyasnews has a special corner in my heart.
    It gives the feeling, “Our Media”.

    One tip: There is an article at sannyasnews, cut and paste of Osho discourse: “I will create many Satgurus,
    a Master is satisfied only when he has created another Master”, states Osho.

    This can be a new article.

    Surely I will ask, “Where are these Satgurus?” Where is the Tesla Car?!

    • Arpana says:

      ”In my opinion, interesting, controversial and intelligent content is one which pushes Pundit like Arpana to his abusive best.”

      Truth hurts, eh, Shantam?

      ”One can look at the history of articles, with humble pride I can say Lokesh and Shantam have provided maximum content for such articles.”

      Stop lying to yourself, Shantam.

    • Arpana says:


      You plainly consider yourself to be an expert on everything to do with Sannyas and Osho. That’s the definition of pundit.

      As always, the adjectives you use to describe others, describe you.

    • Arpana says:

      You’re not a satguru, Shantam. That’s what you need to pay attention to.

    • Klaus says:

      Looking for “Satgurus” only in the known universe of Osho/Bhagwan therapists, group leaders and disciples might be a limitation in one’s approach.

      In my view the term ‘Satgurus’ will not live on forever as it leaves so much space for interpretation as well as categorizing of ‘paths and methods’. Which may not fit the reality of such a person.

      Just saying.

  7. Before we go to new article, let me add the final touch to this one with a nice cartoon:

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