Timber Hawkeye is the author of Buddhist Boot Camp. Drawing from his wide-ranging experiences, he offers approaches to peace, within and around us in the world.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How do you relate to looking beyond someone's anger and hatred to what they actually love and are simply trying to protect? Can you share a story of a time you were able to do this and see a difficult situation through the lens of love? What helps you avoid the trap of hating the hater?
So much YES to looking beyond someone's anger and hatred to what they love and are trying to protect. This has been my mantra since before our election cycle in 2016 here in the US. Often it has fallen on deaf ears, I was told if I was compassionate and loved, I was then complicit. I disagree. If I love and seek to understand, I feel as if that is trying to build a bridge toward understanding. So, I continue to post about love and compassion for Everyone and seeking to understand what is underneathe the anger/ hate which is often fear and yes, under that is love often of family, sense of security and wanting to be seen, heard understood. Here's to looking through the lens of love. What helps me avoid hating is empathy and compassion and knowing that hurt people hurt people and healed people heal people. Maybe there can be more healing and less hate. <3
"Selfishness -- self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt." -- Bill W., Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 62.
Love does not drive us; fear does. Love is very different from fear. With all due respect, I disagree with Timber Hawkeye.
It's a beautiful thing to be so aware as to be able to pause, to empathise, and to understand why someone hates, hurts, is racist, etc.
I fall short of this empathy far to often, I'm afraid. I feel so fierce about fairness - fair treatment of others. I am tending to just become quiet especially now with the challenges politically in my home country, America, when I read or hear terrible talk about immigrants, about race, etc. For me my 'right and wrong' are really clear to me and I have sincere difficulty understanding this idea of protection or protecting with racism, or any 'ism' really.
For me the real deal is being more loving within myself, to myself and others, to be of meaningful service to someone else daily, to be accepting and loving in my words and deeds... to be my best self, better and better in every way every day... and when I fall short, I remember that tomorrow is a new day!
Parents and anyone of us who resort to violence to protect their kids and loved ones are being violent. There is no justified violence — violence is unnecessary. When I’m violent, I’m violent just like any other violent person. A person’s violence may be partially fueled by love, but is likely primarily fueled primarily by ignorance and underlying violence. People who are hateful, racist, homophobic or prejudiced aren’t simply defending what they hold dear, they are responding from underlying anger and violence and from their reptilian brain and choosing fight and violence instead of flight. A person being violent may be seen as a freedom fighter, but he’ being a fighter of freedom and not a fighter for freedom. Seeing violence through the eyes of love may decrease the violence but it doesn’t make the violence an act of love. As Thich Naat Hahn said, when we hate the hater we become a hater. Likewise, when we are violent to a violent person we are are violent ourselves. Yes, it is possible to a person who is violent. That shift in my heart isn’t subtle, it’s major. What helps me make the shift is reminding myself that violence fosters violence and nonviolence reduces violence in the hater and in me.[Hide Full Comment]
This writing by Timber Hawkeye reminds me of St Francis of Assisi's Peace Prayer. It begins with," Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy." And it ends wirh these uplifting words: "for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal life." This is the spiritual dimension of living. Knowing it and practicing it, contemplating and acting, extends and expands our awareness leading to pure awareness. As the Budhha says, "Asho dhammo sanatanaha. This is the Eternal spiritual law." When I am quiet not justifying my wrong doing or reacting to other's wrong doing, I see the light of this spiritual wisdom. I understand my wrong doing empathically as a human being and of the other too like me as a human being. When I see myself and the other with the lense of emapthy and compassion, I hear the underlying cry for love behind anger and hatred and violence.
This is an ongoing journey in my life and I am going through it slowly and steadily. My path gets more enlightened with each step and I am grateful to great spiritual teachers for guiding me in the journey of my life. My journey becomes a pilgrmage.
I would like to conclude with the words of wisdom by my favorite Russian author Leo Tolstoy: " Love is the only way to rescue humanioty of all its ills."
May we sow love where there is hurt, hatred and injury!
Jagdish P Dave
When we suspend judgement, the heart opens, love flows and we are free.