Love Thy Enemy
I’m kidding, am I not? There are so many sacrifices that one can do in this life, you see – we can do kind deeds to a stranger we happen to meet on the street, we can donate to charities, we can help in the relief operation projects…we can do a hundred different things that will show we are good humans that are capable of compassion and would probably be a good saint candidate. But, loving an enemy? Loving someone who hurts us, insulted us or wronged us? Might as well tell me to shoot my head…really, it is a much easier choice.
When someone caused us pain or suffering, it is understandable to be hurt and feel bad. And according to our society standard, it is also natural and acceptable to be angry and worse, to retaliate in similar manner.
Things like that happen to family, friendship, community, between nations and the whole world. It is no wonder that we are in the midst of chaos, conflicts and wars then.
Christians say that if someone throws rocks at you, you should strike him/her back with bread. That is an expensive way of doing it…why throw good food when many go hungry? Rather, instead of seeking retribution, we can choose to serve and understand them. Many times, people are undergoing their own hell and react by getting angry and putting blame on anything and anyone. And sometimes, we get to be the casualty of such wrath and resentment. We can react by giving them dose of their own medicine or we can react by directing our attention to their well-being and healing.
It is a tall order. Taking the high road requires a lot of courage and compassion. Nonetheless, in the long run, it will serve us better. The words of Shams of Tabriz captured it beautifully:
“Whatever you speak, good or evil, will somehow come back to you. Therefore, if there is someone who harbors ill thoughts about you, saying similarly bad things about him will only make matters worse. You will be locked in a vicious circle of malevolent energy. Instead, for forty days and nights, say and think nice things about that person. Everything will be different at the end of 40 days, because you will be different inside.”
In short, let us learn to cut the cycle of negativity. Think. When we respond in a manner that is ordinarily expected from us in such situation, the person who is at fault will only feel justification in what he/she has done. On the other hand, if we refuse to get angry and we refuse to seek revenge, he/she would lose his/her power over us. Negativity is powered by anger and hate; without that, it will lose its steam.
Let us not fail to remember that in reality, all humans are but one. Every time we hurt another being, we are only hurting our own self. Adi Da Samraj told us that “Every individual is only seeking not to be destroyed; therefore, understand and become more tolerant of others. Cease to struggle with others and yourself. Do not become bound up in the usual search for dominance, consolation, pleasure and release.”
Dominance…that feeling of righteousness; consolation…the need for acknowledgment or praise; pleasure and release are what you derive from getting what you want. These are just our ego talking. Being always right gets boring in the long run…and really, both criticism and compliment do not define us (truth be told, there is nothing to define at all). Let us learn not to be attached to anything and anyone. Nothing is permanent in this existence. No matter how hard we work for it, we will lose everything and everyone. It is just a matter of time. So, rather than spending our lives on hating and being angry, let us try love and compassion instead. Living is easier and lighter when we choose to see only the good from the bad.