Saturday, August 27, 2016

The power of hate?

In spiritual annals, rarely is hate seen in a positive light. Often times hate is seen as the antithesis of love: the natural foe to be overcome by love, but few times indeed is hate seen as a positive matter. And more times than not hate is aligned with demonic activity, while love is seen as the essence of divinity. However, neither hate nor love has any independent existence. Instead these two, powerful emotions are forces that yield understanding of the opposite. Truth and falsity are two sides of the coin of knowledge. A coin, of any kind, has two sides, just as a roof does. Neither a coin nor a roof would be possible if one side was removed. By so doing all of it would cease to exist. That principle goes by various names: relativity, perceptual contrast and dependent origination. Not only do these two sides determine existence and nonexistence, but they make possible the understanding of both. What is true is only understood as true when given a comparison of falsity. Likewise, hate and love define one another, so too adversity and the result of hope, growth in character and endurance. The challenges of life afford us all with opportunities to experience, build strength and discover for ourselves what is false and true.

Nothing, by itself is either good or bad. No one overwhelmed with adversity or failing health sees either as desirable. But there is value in first experiencing both. Bodhidharma correctly observed, “Your body and mind are the field. Suffering is the seed, wisdom the sprout, and Buddhahood the grain…Every suffering is a buddha-seed, because suffering impels mortals to seek wisdom.” In that sense, sickness breeds wellness. Suffering breeds wisdom and compassion. And the opposite is true: anyone who experiences constant abundance has no motivation to empathize with those less fortunate nor awareness there is a higher level of spiritual enlightenment.

When we were children, our parents led us to believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. The parental intension was to fill our children with a sense of awe. It worked for a time but eventually we found out the truth. For centuries all (probably) humans believed the Earth was the center of the universe and this view was reinforced by the Church. When Galileo discovered the truth, he was imprisoned by that authority and forced to recant the truth. 

We often times hear that a substantial amount of self-talk is negative and hateful. Thus we are led to believe this is always a bad thing. The critical issue here is which “self” is the reference point? A proper understanding of the self is essential to this issue. If self is understood as the ego (an image of our true self) then negative and hateful self-talk is exactly what is needed because truth and falsity are relative matters. Before true self-awareness dawns like the rising sun, the false self must set like the setting sun. The false self (ego) remains unaware of anything beyond, and thus must fall by the weight of everything hateful. In the words of the North Indian Mahāyāna Buddhist monk Śāntideva:

“All the suffering there is in this world arises from wishing our self to be happy. All the happiness there is in this world arises from wishing others to be happy.”

Just as the Earth is not the center of the universe, the world does not revolve around our egos. It is the very nature of egotism to exhibit as qualities of selfishness, greed, anger, delusion, alienation, hostility and every other bad thing, and it is essential to spiritual awakening to hate these characteristics of behavior. So long as they remain acceptable dimensions of behavior they become normative and we, and the cultures within which we live, begin to die. It is the growing awareness that these qualities are indeed to be hated that becomes the power that fuels the engine of spiritual evolution, awakening and universal brotherhood. And when at last the ego implodes because of the crush of self-hatred and discriminate love, the flower of unconditional love bursts forth from the all embracing, non-discriminate source of our true self, and self-hatred transforms into universal self-love. 
Post a Comment