Can we love our enemy?

DrAndrea

To love our enemy is impossible. The moment we understand our enemy, we feel compassion towards him or her, and he or she is no longer our enemy. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Compassion can heal our enemies, too.

In a time with endless wars, economic stress, racial profiling and political uprising it is easy for us to label others as bad or evil. Suddenly we have more enemies than any other time in history. Hatred seems so justifiable.

And yet, the most intelligent among us repeatedly say that it is our compassion for our enemy that will set us free from hatred, stealing, war and corruption. So, we are all sad, enraged and full of vengeful emotions. But vengeance will not solve the problems of racism or displaced anger, rage and hostility. We are reminded of the grace of Gandhi who suggests instead, that we should “be the change we want to see in the world.”

Can we allow our pain, anger and frustration to motivate and inspire us to carry peace and tolerance forward? Can our collective enlightenment empower the aggressors, who in their ignorance, pain and confusion project hatred toward others?

It is my prayer that we awaken to the truth that we are all ONE of similar spirit, each with a soul that, according to some beliefs, chose to live with a particular mission. Can this knowledge of our mutual agreement to play these roles for each other lead to compassion?

I am reminded that the judicial system is manmade. The human mind and ego have the potential for grave error and bias depending on our level of development. The spiritual laws of the universe dictate that no deed goes unnoticed — not necessarily unpunished in our sense of the concept.

Do the misguided abusers out there need to be punished in the earthly moralistic sense? Or is it possible that they need to become awakened to the truth of who they really are — who we all are? In that awakening is the seed which can later bear fruits of tolerance, forgiveness, acceptance and, ultimately, unconditional (self) love.

“It is our lack of love for ourselves that inhibits our compassion toward others. If we make friends with ourselves, then there is no obstacle to opening our hearts and minds to others.” ~ Pema Chödrön

 

Knowing that the essential self that is you is the same self that animates all beings brings a certain reverence for life and inspires us to want the best for all of us.

My prayer is one of forgiveness and enlightenment because, at the heart of the matter, no one’s soul is born full of hatred toward others. The impulse to kill or abuse or reject others is learned or impressed upon us, inherited, if you will, from the collective unconscious. So to heal this pain we do not need protests, riots and eye-for-eye vengeance which will not change the hearts nor souls of the oppressors. We need to return to our true essence of universal love, an awakening to unity consciousness.

By becoming a tolerant, peaceful, forgiving person and living this example, I am changing the vibration of those around me. Then by practicing forgiveness and compassion meditations I can go to the heart and soul of all those affected by these actions — forward and backward in time — to heal the past and reveal the truth that still remains — we are ONE. We are pure love at our core. We have come to experience life as creators. Now we can consciously co-create a life of harmony, love and mutual respect for all beings.

T

THE COMPASSION MEDITATION PRACTICE

Begin today’s meditation by taking five deep, slow breaths. Breathe in through your nose slowly to the count of 6, hold your breath for 2 counts, and exhale slowly to the count of 6. Do this for a total of 5 breaths.

With your hands resting on your lap, or on your heart if you wish, recite the loving kindness phrases and really try to generate the feelings of kindness, friendliness and compassion. Starting with yourself, say:

 May I be free from suffering. May I be peaceful and truly happy. May I be well in body, mind and heart. May I live with ease.

As you feel the warmth coming from your heart, a sincere desire that you not suffer, see if you can extend that feeling to someone you care about. Imagine a dear friend or loved one and repeat the phrases:

May you be free from suffering. May you be peaceful and truly happy. May you be well in body, mind and heart. May you live with ease.

Finally, as you bask in these wonderful feelings of kindness and compassion, extend the wish to all beings on the planet.

Spend a few minutes allowing this wave of loving kindness to swirl around you and radiate out from you. I will sound a bell when the meditation period is over.

Take this feeling of connectedness  with you throughout your day. Always remembering that you, too, are worthy of a life free from suffering, full of peace and true happiness.

Please share this 21-day challenge with your friends and loved ones using the hashtags #Compassion #Meditation

May you be free from suffering. May you be peaceful and truly happy. May you be well in body, mind and heart. May you live with ease.

With love,

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