Hatred feels like such a strong emotion, but it leaves you weakened. Loving kindness might be the answer.
A couple of years ago my friend Kate and I went to see a healer guy in Barcelona. I asked him about how to deal with feeling hate and he showed us the most amazing thing.
He took me outside the room (so Kate didn’t know what we were doing) and asked me to think negative thoughts about her. When we went back in, he asked me to push Kate. With a firm push from me and Kate stumbled backwards and she could do the same to me. This is what hatred does to you he said. ‘How do I not get weakened by hatred then?’ He took me outside again and asked me to send loving thoughts to Kate. With the same push I didn’t move. Nor did Kate. Not only did hating weaken the person I was sending the thoughts to, but it weakened me too. And the antidote was to send love.
THE SIDE EFFECTS OF HATE
Hating someone feels like a strong thing to do. It is a strong sentiment, but it leaves you weak. Not only physically but also emotionally and mentally. Your options are limited, your health is compromised your connection is lost.
WHAT’S THE ANSWER? LOVING KINDNESS.
Do you know what that is? It’s that feeling you might feel towards a baby, a new lover or a pet when there is nothing but good that you wish for them. Feeling that love and kindness, isn’t normal in our culture. We don’t actually have a word for it hence calling it Loving Kindness, but in Pali it is Metta. In Sanskrit it is Maitrii.
Practising loving kindness has been scientifically proven to improve your health, your sleep and your immune system, so who wouldn’t want to buy in? Probably no one, but although it is simple, it is not easy.
Remember that your mind and your body are linked.
- You need to identify the feeling in you. Think about your pet if you need to.
- Now you have the spark, stoke it and build it.
- Aim the loving kindness at yourself. Spend 10 minutes just feeling loving kindness towards yourself. This is easier said than done. We are programmed to criticise ourselves. But let the criticism go. Just love yourself.
- Then take 10 minutes giving loving kindness to someone it is easy to send it to. (It is interesting how rarely this person is your partner, husband or wife.) To do this, don’t let go of your loving kindness towards yourself. Just let it grow and flow.
- Finally, the last 10 minutes sharing loving kindness with someone you will find difficult. (I chose my partner’s brother for whom I have very few positive feelings.) It is a challenge.
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