Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Love and Hate ~ Personal and Global

If we are learning anything amid the current global upheaval it is the sheer amount of hatred existing within the heart of humanity. All the problems we face today have their root in this hatred, and this hatred's roots lie in individual people refusing to take responsibility for cleaning up their own side of the fence.

I made the decision to leave my personal facebook page in December because I couldn't bear to witness any more of the name-calling and circular complaining. It was clear to me that all those seemingly enlightened people 'in the right' were fuelling instability with their insistent focus on the other side 'being wrong'. They were behaving like the very thing they purported to hate, and thereby fuelling a more hostile world

And now here we are. It's like the war that I grew up with in 80s and 90s Northern Ireland has seeped into every part of the world. The poison of unresolved hatred inside us all is now out in the open and we really have no choice but to heal it.

So how do we heal hatred?

The first thing is to recognise that hatred exists, within us. We need to own our own capacity for hatred and learn how to transform its energy into something life enhancing.

On numerous occasions over the years I have found myself teaching loving-kindness meditation to an individual or group who winced at the mention of the word 'hatred'. People often say, 'Well I wouldn't say I ever feel hatred - it's more like dislike or irritation. I don't actually hate anyone'.

While it is socially acceptable to pretend to not have the capacity for hatred, it is actually a disservice to our own personal power to try to cover up what is a normal human experience. Hatred is so close to love because it implies that we actually care about something, we're not numb to it.

In any given moment, scratch a little bit beneath a minor irritation in yourself and you will find a burning furnace of unowned hatreds; hatreds that can teach you huge amounts about the world, and liberate you from all your personal bodymind issues.

The second thing to know is that no external person, view, or situation, is the cause of my hatred. My hatred is my responsibility. It is my reaction to something outside of myself, and that thing in and of itself is neutral. When I am bound up in it, the reaction defines this neutral thing for me and I lose touch with my power to initiate positive change.

Hatred tells us that we do not agree with what is happening. It is essential for the overall harmony of the world that we all speak out when we see something unhelpful is happening, but when we do it from hate nothing can properly change. Change only comes with love; love that is sometimes soft and light and sometimes hard and mountainous.

So, how does this process translate into our everyday lives?

For the past four years I have had an issue in my left hip that flared up about once a year. It really annoyed me each time because I put a lot of energy into being active and healthy. I went to a well known physio who very unhelpfully told me it was only going to get worse and that I should give up my yoga practice. (Being an avid HayHouse listener I challenged his view and sent him some information on how our beliefs create our biology.)

At the time of the first flare up I had a new person in my life who was pushing all my buttons. This man had the exact opposite 'wrong' views to me on everything yet I was so drawn to him. It surprised me just how much love and hatred existed simultaneously. I noted in my daily meditation practice that the hip pain got worse the more I judged him and then myself for being a 'bad person' for feeling all the hatred. Eventually I gave up on this relationship and the pain went away.

Then, each year the hip pain returned with a new person or situation that pushed my buttons and helped me empty out the old hatred stored in my body. I got better at being kind to myself and the pain got lesser and lesser each time.

Recently it flared up again, very mildly this time. I had so much more love for myself and the new person that I could let go into it fully and uncover the very root of  the pain.

In my body-scan mindfulness meditation I felt in to years of toxic hatred for my parents. I had hated their lack of care, their cruelty, selfishness, recklessness, and insanity... The list was very long, and I judged myself for non of it. All that hatred was a perfectly understandable reaction to how I had been treated. It had taught me how I wanted to be in the world, but now it was time to let it go. If I held on to it any longer I knew I would become the very things I hated.

The pain was deeply embedded in the left hip, and as it released it travelled to the right hip where it was as hard as concrete. In there was the pure cold hatred of  a lonely little girl who had been surrounded by humans who were less than perfect, a girl who desperately wanted to live in a world full of love. I felt the pain in my bodymind, I cried out the tears, and acknowledged all the judgements of these people who didn't know how to love me.

As the pain released all that was left behind was ease. No more pain, no more hatred, just love. As the days unfolded I noticed that this release had changed all my relationships - suddenly I felt no reaction to minor irritants, so much so that I felt ready to join facebook again.

There is no difference between the global and personal. The wider world is simply a merging together of all the tiny decisions we individual people make each day to either project our darkness onto one another, or to heed the natural healing calls of bodymind to turn that gaze inward and face our own shadows in meditation, to transform all our hatreds into love, and ultimately to create heaven here on earth.

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