By Diane Donovan-Vaughn – Sermon 5/12/2018
This title comes from the book Living with more Compassion from this week’s compassion lesson, a section title for three of the lessons in the book. “Compassion, Hate and Difficult People,” – the title alone could be mindfulness meditation.
Love and hate really are very closely related. At one time, I thought you had to love someone to truly be able to hate them. I changed my mind as I realized the mind is able to create any reality any time it gets triggered and can project hate on someone who just reminds you of love you think you do not have.
Love is what we think we want and hate is what we feel when we think that we have been denied love or denied satisfaction. Unfortunately, in our world and in our upbringing, we may have had very few if any love experiences without hate and fear attached to it because humans are all flawed and have issues.
In fact, hate is closely related to fear. Hate arises most often because we have had unmet expectations and needs. We have fear that our needs will never be met or will not be met in the timely matter we prefer. We give away our power of self-love to an objectified person or event, allowing the lack and fear that we feel to victimize us. Hate and fear mean that we have given away our own power and have given it to someone or something else. We learn these fearful, hateful games in childhood.
The mind dwells on pain and unmet needs. It grabs hold of these feelings like a dog with a bone and refuses to let them go. These feelings can grow so large that nothing exists except the pain we feel and all of reality becomes filled with our pain. Projection of fault is often sent to the so-called source of our discomfort and we cannot notice or forget about our own ability to create love.
No one else is in charge of love. We have to give someone the illusion of controlling us for hate and pain to exist. If I hate someone, I have given up my sovereignty to another, making them in charge of my feelings and allowing myself to succumb to fear. It is very easy to get drawn into the hate/fear situations with those around us. It takes consistent practice to turn it down and to choose love instead.
With true loss of someone I love, I might hate that they have to leave me. In this case I love them and hate loss. I still have that fear that only that person can make it possible for me to feel love. When you look in the mirror and say, “I am the love of my life,” you can easily see that love is possible no matter who is present or not in your life.
Yes, you will not like it when people leave, die or disappoint you. You will not like it when you watch others suffering. You will not like the way people behave and could strongly desire to get enmeshed in the fear dramas. This pain is more closely related to compassion. Humans are flawed. If I wait to feel loved until the world revolves around my needs, I will wait forever. If I choose drama, hate and fear instead of love, I will suffer endlessly. Choosing love is the path to having love and there is no other path.
My mother and stepfather would leave for work and be gone eleven hours a day when I was in grade school. At first, I was in a private school that had a before and after school program. At the ripe old age of five years old, I was away from my mother for eleven hours a day. It was torture. I vividly remember feeling tortured. I vividly remember waiting for what seemed an eternity for her to pick me up every day. Being in first grade a year before my peers, I was the youngest child in the room. An introvert and immature, I closed into myself. Eventually, I told my mother how unfair I felt it was that she was gone every day while all my friends got to come home to their mothers every day. She reassured me that having more money would always ensure that I would have all my needs met in a grander way than my peers. Sadly, her explanation gave me an object to hate. I hated money. At the time, my father had been away a year in Saudi Arabia to make more money as well. These Depression Era parents’ obsession with making money became my hate of their beloved money.
When I finally went to therapy and realized the issues I had with money, my hate and anger moved in their direction until finally compassion arrived. Their deep need for money was no worse than my deep need for them not to love money more than me. Herein lies the mistake we all make when we are caught up in illusions. We are not the object of the mistake. We are simply the willing believer in its very convincing existence. Look at your illusions straight on and they dissolve.
I move to the mirror and my mistakes to find that the drama, lack, hate and unmet needs are all an illusion. Maybe we come to earth to learn these lessons and if it is true, I now believe that every lesson boils down to realizing that these illusions are illusions. They are not true. They are not reality. They are simply a temptation to believe in fear. Did my parents love me? Yes, they did. Did they love themselves? No they did not. They lived in fear and I have been the lucky one that got to have a few moments of knowing life without it and knowing I am loved.
Once fear dissolves, ultimately love is all that exists.
Today’s compassion lesson and practice from <em>A Year of Living with more Compassion – 52 Quotes and Weekly Compassion Practices </em>(Edited by Richard Fields) Selection 41 (pp. 124-126) is by Polly Young-Eisendrath, PhD. She chose this quote from The Buddha, The Dhammapada: The Sayings of the Buddha, Thomas Byrom, Trans., 1976:
“In this world hate never yet dispelled hate. Only love dispels hate. This is the law, ancient and inexhaustible.”
Let’s take a moment now to practice. Close your eyes. Take deep connected breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Relax when you exhale as you place your attention in the center of your being. Pull up a chair and sit down inside your true self, as you become the one who actually knows what you are doing here on earth. Ask that part of you that knows about your earthly lessons to remind you about what illusions you are unlearning. Notice any hate or fear you have about life, long standing games, dramas and unmet needs. Look at these hateful, fearful illusions straight on, with courage and watch as they start to unravel and dissolve. Let them go. Fill the space that is vacated with peace, love and compassion. Whenever you encounter more hate or fear, remember to look at them straight on as you choose love. Namaste.