Tag Archives: Hate

Hate is a Two-Way Poison

Oh, my, there is so much hate in our world! It is top of mind, of course, because of the shock of last week’s Paris terrorist attacks. But hate is boiling in so many people these days, on so many fronts, that we almost take it for granted…as if hate is normal…as if hate is just fine.

Those of us who are devoted to love as the only force of true change are often accused of being foolish, trite, lofty, or childish. We are considered Pollyannas spouting from ivory towers.

Many years ago, I had a profound dream, one in which an angel came to me and took me on an agonizing but illuminating  field trip.  He carried me to the scene of a violent rape in progress.  I heard, saw, and even smelled the graphic horror playing out in front of me, and I began to feel hate swell up in my chest. I wanted to kill the attacker!  I wanted to tear him limb from limb! But I couldn’t move. I could only witness. I  asked the angel, furiously, “Why did you bring me here?”

The angel waved his hand in the air in front of me, and suddenly I could see a new dimension – a thick, brown, vibrational ooze coming off the attacker and slithering across the ground toward me. It was as if I were a magnet drawing the rapist’s degenerate energy my way.

The angel spoke:  “This is what is meant by deliver us from evil,” he said. “Hate is a virulent infection. Love is both the inoculation and the antidote. Do what must be done to stop evil, to bring justice, to protect the innocent, but do so with love, else you, yourself, will become contaminated.”

I have never forgotten the message of this dream. It is far from Pollyannish to hold on to a sense of love in the face of hate’s potent pull, to allow anger its natural place, without hatred. There is nothing simplistic, trite or childish about it. As a matter of fact, it might just be THE HARDEST THING on the planet to do, requiring warrior-like resolve and a refinement of consciousness that can only be accomplished through a lifetime of prayer, meditation, and forgiveness.

Jesus said, “Love your enemies. Do good to those that persecute you.” It was a shocking idea then, and it still is today… and so seemingly impossible that few of us even try.

I am a long way from victorious on this subject, and I may never be. But I believe, with all my heart, that this is the mandate required to save the world, nevertheless; that the “loftiness” of love must be brought down to earth…in our hearts, in our minds, in our words, in our actions…both proactively, and responsively, in times like these.

 

The Practice of JOY

Life's enjoyment

Life’s enjoyment

Today I want to talk about the practice of JOY. For weeks I have been teetering on some kind of brink in my meditation practice. I have written about this – the hard rock I have come up against inside that is angry, resentful, even hateful – a primal , dark place that I don’t have a rational explanation for, but its power has been my unwillingness to simply look at it because, “Hey, I’m a good person!  I don’t have hate!”

Now, I am being shown, not just theoretically but experientially, that we all have EVERYTHING in us. We have what Jung would call “shadow” selves, and those shadows have power because we don’t look at them, because they are hidden. In order to regain our wholeness, we must move the shadow into the light of our compassionate awareness. As I said, I’ve known this theoretically for thirty years or more, and have done this with other shadow selves (sorrow and fear are prime ones).  But hate?  Oh my goodness!  Hate was well hidden.

So I’m looking, and naming. Another tendency is to try to jack-hammer the rocks in our path. The teetering I have been doing is going back and forth between refusing to see/feel this hard rock and alternatively taking a jackhammer to it, attempting to violently blast it out of existence…neither of which has been working.

But today I am remembering the practice of JOY (and capitalizing it to call out its holy elevation beyond a mere emotion).  JOY is the river that will move the rock naturally. JOY is a practice and a challenge because we must shift gears to experience it, and there might be an initially uncomfortable, grinding quality in doing so, to allow JOY to touch us in those deep spaces. Why is that so? It may sound counter-intuitive, but the truth is  JOY is an even more vulnerable emotion than sorrow or fear, and certainly more vulnerable than anger or hate. If you haven’t heard vulnerability researcher Brené Brown talk about the subject of JOY, you can watch it here. She explains it so beautifully.

I have known this for years now, that JOY is medicine, that JOY is a practice… but I forget it all the time.  Today, I sat and looked at the dark, cool clouds that might very well drop some rain on our parched ground, and I let JOY grow inside as I appreciated the clouds just as they were. Then I clipped the dead flowers from my geraniums and let JOY grow as I saw the plants seem to smile at me in gratitude for helping them look their best. I wrapped a peach-colored shawl around my shoulders and felt its softness against my skin, and let its color touch my eyes and heart.  Simple things. Easy, available things, done intentionally, prayerfully, invitingly, receptively.

And guess what?  The rock moved a little!