“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,S
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'
piritual 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?
These are not easy questions to answer. Which is why Ryan and I wanted to talk with our good friend Justin Miles about all this. Justin stands in an extraordinary confluence of spiritual, political, and cultural lineages — he is an avid Integralist, a practicing Shambhala Buddhist, an active member of the Black Panther Party, a local community leader, the founder of a Black Power Meditation group in Baltimore, and a prolific hip hop artist. All of these divergent and sometimes conflicting influences have given Justin a unique full-spectrum perspective on the #BLM protests we see erupting all across the country. Watch as Justin shares his own views on this new wave of social resistance and gives voice to the incredible pain, trauma, and frustration that black Americans have been living with for generations.
One important note — although we talk openly in this episode about the possible role(s) of violence in protest culture, in no way are we actually condoning violence. Attempting to understand violence — even asking whether some degree of violence might be necessary in order to overcome our social inertia and get the gears of social transformation moving — is very different from actually justifying violence. And of course there is a fairly wide spectrum of violence, from physical assault to property damage to resisting arrest to self-harm, not to mention the accumulated interior violence of discrimination, disenfranchisement, and dehumanization. All resistance is inherently violent, on some level — but how much violence is necessary in today’s resistance movements? This may very well be one of the best measures of just how functional and healthy a society is — how much violence is required in order to enact social change? — in which case, our hope is “as little as possible”.
If there are any topics or questions that you would like us to explore in future episodes of Inhabit, please let us know in the comments below, or by getting in touch with Corey.
Written by Corey deVos
Music by Justin Miles and Stuart Davis
Previous Episodes of Inhabit
Inhabit: Your Bardo
Inhabit: Your Speech
EMERGE — HOW TO THRIVE IN A WORLD GONE MAD
These chaotic times bring us in touch with what matters most, whispers of death and rebirth, as our global life conditions passionately usher us toward all of what could be, of what wants to emerge in your life.
Emerge is a new training program by Ryan Oelke, offering a thoughtful 3-phase process that will empower you to fully inhabit your experience, more deeply relate in real-time to life, and to formulate agile paths of response and action. With this embodied integral training, you will both be more passionately inspired from the core of your being and you will more successfully see the change, experiences, and results you and we long for and need in this moment and in the future.Learn how Emerge can help you find traction for your transformation
Integral Social Justice
Ken Wilber and Corey deVos
In this stunning 2.5 hour discussion, Ken Wilber offers his own views around healthy and unhealthy forms of social justice, praising the healthy and legitimate efforts to enact social justice over the generations while noting how much of today’s broken discourse around social justice is helping to perpetuate multiple forms of injustice.
#EnoughIsEnough: Overcoming Racism in America
Diane Musho Hamilton, Greg Thomas, Mark Palmer, Gabe Wilson, Rob McNamara, and Corey deVos
In light of the recent violent deaths of three black Americans — Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd — at the hands of current and former police officers in the United States, we wanted to deepen our discussion of race and racism and how we as Integralists can contribute to change.
Meditation for Militants
Justin Miles and Jeff Salzman
Jeff talks about integral activism with Justin Miles, founder of the Miles Center for Integral Living in Baltimore. Justin is a former member of the Black Panther party, Buddhist meditation teacher, and therapist. Jeff also looks at the role of cynicism in our political discourse, and takes a couple questions from listeners.
Integral Activism: Doing Nothing, Leaving Nothing Left Undone
Cindy Wigglesworth and Jeff Salzman
Jeff talks to Cindy Wigglesworth about activism from an Integral perspective, addressing some of the big questions currently resonating throughout the integral community. When is it time to reflect, and when is it time to act?
(r)evolutions: Protest Music for a New Day
Corey deVos (aka dj rekluse)
“A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having.” This mix was created in the spirit of the great protest songs of the 1960’s, channeled through one of the most (r)evolutionary art forms of our time: socially and spiritually conscious hip hop (don’t worry, there are plenty of rock and roll touch-points scattered throughout for the uninitiated). This set covers a very wide range of emotional content, from frustration to optimism to outrage. I also attempted to weave a variety of perspectives together, from premodern to modern to postmodern, as a demonstration of how these different points of view can all “fit together” into a single cohesive experience.
About Justin Miles
Justin F. Miles is the CEO of the Miles Institute of Integral Living LLC and provides mental health treatment to men and women in Baltimore City. Justin is a practicing Vajrayana Buddhist in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage and teaches courses on Buddhism and meditation to individuals and groups. Additionally, Justin is a DJ, Beatboxer, Producer and Emcee and develops theories and practices to utilize the four elements of Hiphop as tools for increasing self, other and global awareness.
About Corey deVos
Corey W. deVos is Editor-in-Chief of Integral Life, as well as Managing Editor of KenWilber.com. He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.
About Ryan Oelke
Ryan Oelke is a co-founder of Buddhist Geeks and founder of Awakening in Life. He has an MSEd in counseling psychology and is contemplative teacher of awakening, healing, and embodiment. He has 18 years experience in meditation, particularly in the Tibetan Buddhist and Dzogchen lineages, he is a Buddhist Geeks teacher, and is a fully certified teacher in Judith Blackstone’s Realization Process. Ryan teaches meditation and a way of living dedicated to revealing natural presence and awakening in each moment of our lives, regardless of how it appears to us. He lives in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, NC with his partner Alyssa and stepdaughter Fiona.
Wow, Corey. I too am searching for how we can overcome mankind’s shadows, and become integral change agents, but have become lost in the shuffle, or better said, the polarity. After 20 years of being an interested dabbler in Integral theory, and enthusiastic listener on many talks and courses, I find myself remembering why I have been such an unsuccessful Integralist. Don’t get me wrong, as I am enlightened by Ken Wilbur’s works and deeply grateful for his incredible contributions. I guess I thought that the Integral community would be a movement of people who could most understand people at all levels, could most surf the spiral. But, I am at least one of those who you hero-shamed at the end of the podcast, just another “fucking Republican”. Prediction: Holding and expressing that view mirrors much of what is happening in our larger collective, has nothing to do with Integral as I have ever understood it, and bridges nothing. In the end, it will lead to just more division. If Integral is not that motor to surf the spiral with wisdom and compassion, then it will ultimately sink as the breakthrough movement it could have been. The talk today could have focused more broadly on all of the issues involved in the topic of racism in America and how we can consider these aspects as we champion integral solutions. The only way to make deep sense of this critical time is with wisdom and sense-making, humility and compassion. BTW, it strikes me that political racism is an endemic force right now, and it felt like that when you said it.
Hey Thomas, just to be 100% clear — when I said Romney is still “a fucking republican”, that was actually a statement of tolerance not division I was responding to a comment that said “sure he supports BLM, but he still wants to defund social security.” My response was to say that we can still praise someone and give them due credit for coming out on the “right” side of an issue, even if they continue to hold other views you don’t agree with. In this case, Romney’s other political beliefs have nothing to do with his support for BLM, and rejecting that support because of his other views is totally non-productive.
As for me, I have many many disagreements with Romney, but I absolutely respect the fact that he showed up and hope that he can become the post-Trump face of the GOP. He is the kind of Republican I very much enjoy disagreeing with, because he doesn’t come off as a total political nihilist like the current constellation of GOP representatives have under Trump.
So yeah. I love me some healthy world-centric conservatives! I hold a number of conservative-aligned views myself (particularly around 2A). We need many more of them these days. So just remember that if you hear me criticizing the GOP, I am speaking about a particular social holon, and not about conservative views/values as a whole. Genuine conservatism is very different from the current GOP leadership, which has become rife with plain-sight corruption from where I am sitting.
Thank you, Corey for your considered response. My larger point is that Integral Life states its inclusionary ethos, but it often feels exclusionary to someone like me. It seems that there is not much dialogue happening inside the Integral genome around a platform for way deeper discussions and inquiries into the prevailing realpolitik in Integral leadership, the world at large, etc. It appears to have already been settled, and not much outside that box is tolerated or esteemed. I am sure that our views would not coincide on everything you state above, and my limited perception is that most discussions sit in a polarity that closely mimics the Progressive left meme in the USA., and any alternate perspectives are second class, rube, unwoke or uninformed. That is too bad for all involved.The place that I try to explore and understand in my own practice are the myths that we all operate under, and how we can have extramythical dialogue on issues, with respect and humility. I do not fit the definitions or mischaracterizations that I read or hear about people who supposedly hold my views, including what I hear or read in many Integral discussions, yours included. This shows me that others offering these characterizations are missing something, or do not understand the ones who do not think the same. My thesis is that this has painted the Integral movement into a progressive corner, which is in the end not an integral outcome at all. I appreciate the work and dedication of you, Ken and many others, and see the intensity and dedication you show in everything. From often a way different vantage point than your own, peace!
There have been many voices who decry Integral and Integral Life discussions as too heady, too cognitive, too theoretical. The Inhabit episodes, from my point of view, are trying to address at least some of this by encouraging embodiment, rather than taking viewers/listeners on a full, mental-analytical tour of, say, the holarchy or whatever. In this episode, the opportunity is to inhabit this moment in time and culture around race issues, and to, as the title suggests, inhabit or embody one’s resistance to “business as usual.” To the extent that was indeed its aim, it mostly succeeded, in my experience of it.
While Ryan spoke little, I have to give him big kudos for stating and returning to a couple of times the importance of “heartbreak” in coming to awareness of racial horrors and injustices, and in committing to action. I don’t believe outrage, anger, or ‘righteous fury’ are the starting points for many white Americans around racial issues, so it’s important to not skip over these other responses to suffering that can also motivate action towards change.
On another point, while I see Justin’s perspective and agree in theory that it is up to whites to eradicate racism, it often doesn’t work this way in terms of legal reforms and such. If we applied this thought to other isms, then we would say it’s up to males to end sexual harassment, assault, and other forms of sexism against females–but we don’t see many males engaged with #metoo, for instance (or many females engaged with ending sexism against males). Or as applied to income/wealth inequality, we would have to say it’s up to the “monied” people to end that. I think in the human interiors, this kind of thinking applies in terms of development, but not so much in the exteriors. People who are “in power,” or hold power, often don’t want to give it up, whether that’s males, whites, or the 1%.
And speaking of sexism, some people consider the use of the internet slang term “Karen” to be a form of it. (I’m not all that invested in this subject, but will speak to it anyway.) As I understand, the term refers to middle-aged, upper middle-class white women who are “perceived to be entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is considered appropriate or necessary” or a woman who is “racist and using her white privilege to get her own way at the expense of others.” As a conservative writer I read stated, there is less talk/discussion of a Karen male-equivalent because white males have always been perceived as entitled or demanding, racist and using white privilege to get what they want. Another writer offered that an exact equivalent for ‘Karen’ is rare among men as males resort to violence rather than mere “pushiness.” Another one offers “Ken” as the name for the male equivalent, but you don’t hear much about that. And I know there are all kinds of internet terms for males of one kind or another (Chad, Kyle), and I appreciate this is a form of “get back atcha” as Black women and men have been stereotyped and called various names. Still, it doesn’t seem all that helpful. Just an opinion.
Seems the Integral as the Progressive/Marxist “intellegensia” discussion isn’t new at all.
Does the Integral movement fall into the trap of “the end justifies the means” and therefore highly non-Integral, non-Inclusive positions are somehow Integral in the end?
Continue the discussion at community.integrallife.com
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