“If you’re invested in security and certainty,
you are on the wrong planet.” 
– Pema Chödrön


Non-Retaliation as a Spiritual Practice – Dave Richo

Oct 29, 2023

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In what ways do we engage in retaliation in our relationships? How can we let go of this urge?

In this talk, Dave Richo defines retaliation as reacting equally to the harm that was initiated against us; revenge on the other hand is a magnified form of retaliation.

He looks at what various spiritual traditions have to say about retaliation. From a psychological view, we often dream of revenge so that we won’t have to face the grief that we are feeling.

Dave holds that the urge to retaliate is a normal impulse, one that we inherited from our ancestors who survived by fighting back against those who hurt them. However many spiritual masters encourage us to work in overcoming this natural tendency. Ultimately, letting go of this urge makes room for higher qualities in us to blossom, including mercy and forgiveness that may actually transform the perpetrator.
David Richo, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, writer, and workshop leader. He shares his time between Santa Barbara and San Francisco, California. Dave combines psychological and spiritual perspectives in his work. His latest book is “Ready: How to Know When to Go and When to Stay.” (Shambhala, 2022). The website for books, talks, and events is www.davericho.com.