Tuesday, June 14, 2011

That where there is hatred, I may bring love

Easier said than done. Hatred seems a strong word; irritation, dislike, animosity, loathing, disgust and abhorrence are the synonyms though, and I can see myself indulging in any one of those. St. Francis held a high standard, but it came a sense of peace that those around him felt. I ask myself: am I a maniac when I try to drive through town in the middle of the high season? Just how loving am I toward those with NY or NJ plates, driving slowly as I, the most important person in the Universe, am trying to get to Dunkin before my caffeine high wears off? That is why this prayer is an ideal, with values that we can work toward with practice. We have very few role models for this spiritual practice, Mother Theresa, Jesus, the Dalai Lama to name a few. Many times in our culture, hatred is glorified, patriotic. I was abhorred (yes, not exactly a loving emotion) when my fellow citizens cheered the death of Osama Bin Laden. Now I know the guy isn't the most loving himself, he was brutal, a murderer. But reveling in his death brought us as a nation down to his depth. We were imitating him. We were him, with our hatred in tact, flaunting it as we cheered. Jimi Hendrix said, "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." When I am sitting in traffic, powerless over movement, when I read about people who have raped or killed, I am powerless. But the hatred becomes a power to be reckoned with. It takes my body and stuffs me down, until it has a life of its own. If I choose to love the person, rather than the act, I stand a chance of not becoming a victim of my own anger. Saint Francis set the bar high. Maybe I will start with the next out of state license plate and try to practice compassion there. I can move on to bigger things once I have mastered  that difficult. task.

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