SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does loving your enemy mean to you? Can you share an experience where you faced up to the ideal of loving your enemies and praying for those who persecuted you? What helps you practice that ideal while facing a clash of ideology?
I Love your response Kristin Pedemonti.
No one says that it is easy to do this. At no time are we expected to be anything more than Human, certainly not ‘perfect’! Loving our enemies doesn’t mean that we never hate, just that we are quicker to forgive perhaps. It doesn’t mean that we agree with the one who hates, or disagree with the one who takes a less loving stand against the one who hates, perhaps it just means that we are taking a different, more loving (less hating) stance – and that through Grace! If we have hateful words for our opponents, then these too must come to the surface in our lives in order for us to be aware of them, perhaps then seeing our true selves and perhaps in time acknowledging that we are less than perfect too.
I found Jagdish P Dave’s response very helpful too, saying that “However, there is the "being" part in the human being.This is composed of empathy, compassion, forgiveness, gratitude and love…”
And I thank you Susan Schaller, for the reminder that “An enemy is someone whose story you haven't heard” Beautiful!
I recently heard a sermon by the now deceased Master Shinjo Ito, co-Founder of Shinnyo-en, in which he emphatically expressed the need to unconditionally accept all people, all sentient beings. That this total acceptance is our non-dualistic reality. He did not say that this was easy, but a purifying practice.
Love you enemy to me means seeing that underneath their anger or maltreatment is often fear and under the fear is hurt. Allowing oneself to sift through the anger, fear to get to the hurt often reveals common values and shared humanity. I've been seeking to hold this space of compassion for all for quite some time and especially since our election here in the US. I am saddened to see dear friends say hateful words of their opponents rather than see the human in front of them. I have posted as much as I can about holding compassion and understanding the hurt that lies underneath the hate. Whew. I have been persecuted on all sides for holding this view. I have been told my compassion for both sides somehow diminishes my taking a stand against the danger of hate. I am not sure I agree. I think hate is not the answer ever. I do think seeking to understand is. What helps me practice is what I shared: see beneath the hate or the difference to what may be hurt or pain and see the human under it all. Find the heart.[Hide Full Comment]
" Love in every one of its forms is a lived "yes" to belonging. I call it a "lived yes", because the very way loving people live and act says loudly and clearly, " Yes, I affirm and respect you and I wish you well. As members of the cosmic family we belong together, and this belonging goes far deeper than anything that can ever divide us." These words written by Brother David Steindal-Rast resonate deeply with me.
All of us want and yearn to be deeply connected with each other. Life begins with connectedness and grows like a plant by remaining connected with supporting and nourishing elements. In this process we do not learn to hate. As we grow we acquire beliefs that create two groups, in-group and out-group, we and they, us and them- friends and enemies. These groups are the byproducts of human conditioning. However, there is the "being" part in the human being.This is composed of empathy, compassion, forgiveness, gratitude and love. All wisdom traditions teach us, urge us, inspire us to keep the heart and soul open to relate to each other as loving neighbors, as brothers and sisters in spite of our differences.
There have been living examples of people all our the world who have risen above the the divisive ways of thinking and behaving and there lies the hope for us as human beings to survive and thrive.
Everyday I run into people whom I know who respect and affirm racial, ethnic religious and political differences without punching each other and hating each other. And I also run into people who hold strong prejudice and hatred for people who are different from them.
May we keep our mind and heart open to cultivate connectedness within ourselves and with others in our life!
Jagdish P Dave
Loving your enemy means to me that I firmly, honestly, and directly express my disagreement or objection in a way that is kind and compassionate, devoid of anger, hostility, and violence. Dealing with Trump and many others in our society is a challenge for me. I'll catch myself saying or thinking that I hate him or them, and I stop myself from going there and instead say or think that I strongly disagree. I haven't prayed for him or them, but I will, though probably for their enlightenment -- thanks for the reminder. What helps me practice 'love your enemy' is knowing that we are one and knowing that anger, violence, and hostility are not necessary and are destructive. People like Gandhi and Martin Luther King were correct that light, not darkness, overcomes darkness, and love, not hate, undoes hate. Forgiveness, not revenge, heals. Compassionate objection and dialogue, not war, is loving your enemy and brings peace. Namaste, that is, I recognize the one divine in you and me, is loving your enemy.[Hide Full Comment]
Slowly, in life I learned and am learning that everyone - every person - is a mirror. The person who seems most different from me I learn the most from, about me. An enemy is someone whose story you haven't heard. Whenever I take time to listen and look past the differences, I always find more similarities. Stories connect us human to human in order to see "WE" instead of "us" and "them." Embrace diversity to achieve unity.
Walk with me
Break some bread with me
Enemy, why can't you live with me
Who are you
What did I do to you
Wish I know
Why can't I live with you
We are all born the same
Then we separate
Then the world falls apart
And blame turns to hate
We cannot contemplate
How far apart we are
There is always a way
To that place in your heart
Just put down your gun
Done is done
Why can't we live as one
Feel no shame
The air we breath is the same
Heal the pain
Why do we live in vain