I’ve been hearing a lot from students and observing people’s frustration with trying to understand and find unity points with those who are oppressing others or enabling those who oppress others. Sometimes finding unity points with someone who is racist or sexist or any other “ist” can feel like you’re supporting that person and therefore their oppressive behavior. However, hating someone and focusing on their worst points only makes them more that way and is binding to you, not them.
Love is for your benefit, not just the benefit of the object of your love
When you hate, it’s an awful feeling, right? It’s heavy and toxic, it keeps circling in your mind over and over. That is the binding effect of hate. Your hate only brings you down. Love is seeing Self in another. If you can find a way to recognize that the object of your dislike is also you, to find some ground for unity, it frees you from that feeling. You can then look at the person objectively and make sound decisions how to interact in a way that is rehabilitative, not just destructive.
Where your attention goes grows
If you put your attention on the worst qualities of someone, you are essentially watering the weeds. Finding unity points and turning your attention to someone’s best qualities, even if you have to imagine them as an infant, you are helping to reinforce those aspects. This also goes for your speech, if we speak ill of someone, we are helping to make them that, better to not say anything at all.
Love does not mean necessarily mean you support someone else’s actions
Just because you find love for your enemy, it doesn’t mean you now support their agenda. It’s the love you show them that can help pull them from their “othering” behavior. Sometimes that love comes in the form of discipline. Sometimes we must be love warriors. John Lewis is a perfect example. He and the other civil rights activists he was with would look into the eyes of those beating them in order to connect and awaken their humanity.
Hate is “othering,” and that’s how we got here in the first place
In order to hate someone you have to see them as non-Self. There are no two things in this universe, it is all one consciousness, but it is only when we reach enlightenment that we really experience life that way. In the mean time, we have to remember that it is the seeing of someone as non-Self that allows people to do harm to others. We cannot be whole if we harbor hatred for another. Imagine hating a part of yourself, and then finding a way to shine love on that part, imagine how full and relieving that would feel. It’s the same for our extended Self. Loving someone who is your enemy, loving a person who is destructive, ignorant and hurts others, this is not easy. But doing so is how you set yourself free while uplifting others out of ignorance.
Kristen Vandivier is an instructor of Vedic Meditation and the founder of The Vedic Method and Meditation Without Borders. She is regarded for her ability to make profound teachings relevant to everyday life and her mission of promoting meditation for social change. After completing an intensive curriculum of training under renowned Master Maharishi Vyasananda Thom Knoles, including a three-month immersion program in the Himalayas, Kristen returned to found her practice. She lives in Mill Valley with her husband and three small children.
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Originally published at https://www.thevedicmethod.com on November 11, 2020.