Why Seek Inner Peace? The Concept of Transformative Sprituality

This is a transcript of a lecture by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of the concept of Non-Violent Communication. Find the exact passage at 33:25.

When have this transformative spirituality, we need to integrate it with political consciousness. We need to really understand how the structures are working that are oppressing us. We have to watch out for the kind of spirituality that simply gets us trying to get the right attitude within ourselves – that helps us to live happily and spiritually within a world where there’s a lot of violence, out of the hope that, if we can just transform ourselves, the energy radiating from us will contribute to change. I’m convinced that we need more than that kind of spirituality. We need a spirituality that not only helps us to transcend our bitterness and our anger, but that is integrated with a real consciousness of what is happening that is creating the violence. [We need a spirituality] that mobilizes us to create change not just through hope that by purifying ourselves, the energy coming from us will create the change.

Marshall Rosenberg

So many questions come to mind. Can one claim to be non-violent, if one remains silent to injustice? Can you claim that spiritual enlightenment is a legitimate goal if you do not seek to use it for other people? If you vote for a party that maintains inequality and turns a blind eye to racial violence, are you really non-violent? Can violence also imply structural violence? Is being happy, but distant from the discriminatory context of other people’s lives true non-violence? Is working on yourself the answer to everything, as capitalism and neoliberalism suggest? Does self-improvement have any worth if it’s not to make the world a better place?

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