When there is Hatred, we must be Love
While people debate if the Ferguson Missouri police officer did something illegal in the case of Michael Brown’s death… one thing is clear – there is racism and it’s quite alive in this country.
Looking beyond the actual case, the racism is seen in the comments on every news article online. Regardless of the event of Michael Brown’s death the online community has responded with hatred, racism, and anger towards the situation.
Even the NY Times was caught in this – as they referred to Michael Brown as “no angel.” The NY Times defended it’s statement… But when investigative reporters digged into the NY times articles on serial killers and terrorists who were white, they found the descriptions were always very positive. The article I’m referring to is here.
While it’s easy to feel anger and hatred for the racist comments and actions going on around us, spiritually speaking, our mind’s will be at peace if we can find love for those afflicted with the sickness of hatred. It’s very hard to do. I know from my own past experiences with some bad situations, it was very hard to feel compassion to the “other” doing the wrong.
Exchanging Self With Others (Buddhist Practice)
One thing that helped me was meditation and one specific meditation that really helped me was one called, “Exchanging Self With Others.” The link to the guided meditation of it is here. Just scroll down to the section “Exchanging Self with Others.”
The “Other” that frustrates us, is an extension of ourselves. At some level we are all one. This oneness is understood in many (if not all) Eastern religions. We can simply ask, “what am i?” Am I a body? If the body dies do I also? Tracing it back (either in hypnosis, meditation, or contemplation) it can be seen that we are not our body. Acknowledging that, opens the door to knowing we are spirit. But what is our spirit? By considering that, and tracing it back to a root source, we see that it is an emanation from God. Therefore if each of us are spiritual beings and have the same source (God), then we all are one, in God. At that single source, we all connect, and that point is our Higher selves.
This is what is meant by Namaste.
If you find it difficult to think of this in a spiritual way, just consider this: If you have children, get in touch with the love you have for your child and try to remember your child when it was a baby. Consider that moment when you really felt that intense love.
Now consider the person that frustrates you. The racist. The problem maker. Imagine them before they were afflicted with their sickness of hatred. Imagine how they looked as an infant… a toddler… a child. Think of how their mother loved(s) them.
Think of how you and their mother have that love in common.
Similar to the the above practice, in the East there is a practice of Mother recognition. This works if you believe in reincarnation. If you believe in reincarnation, consider that you have lived billions of lifetimes. In those countless births you have been many things: a husband, son, wife, daughter and mother. Consider that likewise this frustrating person has also been born billions of times and has also been a husband, son, wife, daughter and mother to YOU.
Consider now your mother in this life. If she is alive or passed, consider your best feelings you ever had towards her. Think of how she took you when you were born and nursed you. How she cared for you, and nourished you. How she bathed you and loved you.
Think back to your concept of reincarnation and consider these frustrating people, once were your mother in a past life. They nursed you as your mother figure and took care of you.
If reincarnation is a stretch for you… if you just can’t consider a frustrating racist could be connected to God… then there is something you can try to help you equilibrate your mind. The practice of mindfulness.
This practice does not involve any particular belief. You simply watch your actions.
Some examples of Mindfulness are below:
As you breathe in, become aware of your breath and mentally say, “in.” As you breathe out, mentally say, “out.” Repeat that process for as long as you can. If your mind wonders, simply bring it back on the next breath, following it from the start, to the end.
in… out… in… out…
The practice will calm the mind and help you get in touch with the present moment, as your breathing is in the present moment.
As you hear noises around you, be mindful of it. The sound of a dog in the distance, a bird far away… or the tires of a car as it passes… listen without labeling. Just hear the sound in the moment. “Watch” each sound as it starts, changes and ends. Then listen for the next sound.
As you take food in, be mindful of it. Mentally concentrate on your food. Be aware of the chewing process and the breakdown of the food as you are consuming it. Thich Nhat Hanh suggests chewing each bite at least 50 times. Be mindful of that.
In this time of frustration, it’s important to free your mind from turmoil. Don’t get caught up in the hatred and animosity. Free yourself. Find the practice that works best for you, it is in your best interest to let go and learn to love the other. Even as the “other” is screaming vile comments at you, remember they are suffering greatly – it may not always appear that way, but hatred is a difficult burden that destroys most it afflicts.