“In a time of anger or despair, even if we feel overwhelmed, our love is still there. Our capacity to communicate, to forgive, to be compassionate is still there. You have to believe this. We are more than our anger, we are more than our suffering.
We must recognize that we do have within us the capacity to love, to understand, to be compassionate, always.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh
If you're like me, you are concerned about the hatred and bigotry we are seeing this political season. Perhaps the hatred is nothing new. It has been a latent pathogen that is now expressing itself more loudly.
In Eastern Medical philosophy, we view the world as inseparable from ourselves. The individual is a microcosm of the whole. When there is disease in the whole, there is a seed for it in the each of us. When there is so much anger and hatred in our world, we have no choice but to search inside our own hearts for the cause.
This is how I'm working to eradicate hate:
- I ask myself, what do I hate? I may not believe there is anything I outright hate, but if I investigate, I might be habitually operating at a low level of hate - irritated with people in my way as I rush to work; annoyed with people I live with; judgmental and dismissive of people on social media; longstanding resentment toward one or more people in my life for which I have strongly cemented stories in my mind concerning who they are and what qualities I believe to be inherent in them.
- Once I have identified some things to work on, I decide to take responsibility and proactively send a ripple of peace into the world by creating antidotes for my own dislike.
- Perhaps I decide to just focus on one person that I feel anger towards. When I interact with them, instead of allowing my habit of anger to dominate my mind unchecked, I watch it arise, and that simple awareness has detached me from my anger. That is the beginning of the end of that habit of anger.
- If I can muster up the strength to act lovingly toward them or even have a loving thought for them, I dedicate that effort to eradicating hate. I say to myself 'may this act eradicate hate. May it create peace.'