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Can you really love your enemies?

Updated: Jan 2, 2023

calm image of person sitting on the end of a pier with mountains reflected in still water
Image credit: S Migja (Unsplash)

Meditation and yoga say by practicing metta (or kindness) we can learn.

The Loving Kindness meditation is one such practice.

This meditation calls on us to send love to ourselves, friends, strangers and people you dislike.

I struggled with the enemies.*

It’s a classic metta meditation with Buddhist roots. Perhaps it has stood the test of time because it is easy to remember for it’s repetitive nature?

Or, maybe it is recognising we can send love to others that we dislike then perhaps we can learn to love ourselves completely?

I’m not sure when we started to place expectations on ourselves as humans to be a certain way, perhaps it has always been a thing? These expectations seems to be creating a lot of discontentment within our current lives and selves.

It’s an interesting theme in Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s book “Open Heart Open Mind”. He struggles with an internal conflict as a Buddhist monk on what he views as good and bad thoughts as a monk. He finds his mind wandering to supposed ‘bad’ thoughts he is consumed with the feelings of being a fraud - sound familiar anyone?

In the book he raises this concern with his father, (also a teacher and monk). His father points to the clouds asking if they are good or bad. The answer runs along the lines of good for those seeking shade, bad for those worried about rain. That somehow they can be both things at once. The lesson continues, employing the sky as the vessel in which the clouds are part, likening it to the mind and the body as a whole with clouds as thoughts. It’s well worth the read.

Try it out. Repeat the phrase three times for each

To yourself

may I live with ease, may I be happy, may I be safe and healthy

To your friends and family

may you live with ease, may you be happy, may you be safe and healthy

To those you dislike

may you live with ease, may you be happy, may you be safe and healthy

To everyone

may we all live with ease, may we all be happy, may we all be safe and healthy

Join me for a guided practice this Valentine’s Day 2022.

*Curious as to who my enemies might be? I was still holding a grudge from being robbed very politely while travelling in 2008. We were taken well away from the public when we were meant to be going to our hotel where our wallets and pockets were emptied before being left stranded. In reality we were never in danger, or at risk of not getting home to Australia, but still I was furious.

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