Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Praying the Devil Back To Hell....

There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self. ~Hindu proverb ...

I got an interesting comment on my last post, reminding me to send metta to the women I was upset with last week. (Was it last week? A few days ago? The time is blurring.)

Sending metta, or good thoughts ~ lovingkindness ~ to someone who has harmed us or tried to harm us is a basic part of the forgiveness process. At least for me.

Taking the comment seriously and realizing it was necessary, I sat down to do it. I sent lovingkindness to each woman, by name.

It was hard. Really hard! Not because I am still angry at them. Not out of a need to be right. Not because it felt like submission or giving up.

It was even more insidious than that.

It was because I'd relegated them to non-personhood. The particular dynamic they engaged as a means of "punishing" me was something I find so repugnant, so destructive, that I couldn't bring myself to forgive them as individuals. They became shells. It's really hard to have empathy or compassion for hollow shells. I was able to forgive in a global sense but couldn't on a person-to-person level.

Still, I sat and kept trying.

Eventually after several full minutes, I began to feel some compassion for people who are in such pain that they would take someone's confidential information, shared in trust, and turn it back ~ turning it into ammunition.

I committed to the universe that I would not do the same thing. At least I would try very hard to not do the same thing.

I began to feel empathy, knowing what it is like to feel that way from the past, to be so wounded and so angry that using anything in my arsenal to "get back" at someone seemed justified.

Our conflict was minor. In fact, it was even a bit petty. No one's life will be changed - not mine nor theirs - by the interaction we shared. However, when you look at it in the bigger picture, it does ripple outward. From stream to river to lake to ocean, it grows and grows and before we know it, nations are doing the same thing.

I sent more lovingkindness. I sent healing their way, to all of them, that the things that hurt them inside will go away, that they can see the world as something other than a nail - and that they don't have to be hammers. And I sent lovingkindness to all of us so that none of us will have to feel like hammers in a world of nails.

It was a good exercise. Even though it is difficult, willingness is a good beginning. Even though it didn't feel "real" for a while, it was still worth doing.

I wish we would all take a few minutes each day to send lovingkindness to each other - globally or individually. That alone could change the world.

Have a good Sunday!



rebecca said...

You are a spiritual giant to sent Metta to these harpies. Such growth, even though it was difficult. Bravo.

Anvilcloud said...

I think you did a very good thing for yourself.

painted maypole said...

i'm not familiar with Metta, but I struggle with this as well... "praying for my enemies" I try to pray for good things for the people who I am struggling with. It really does help me to see their situation and their whole being in a different light. But I resist as well! Thanks for sharing your struggles.

Woman in a Window said...

The butterfly effect, right? Create a positive wind and let it grow.

It is a very difficult thing to do sometimes. I find I have to keep myself removed from those kind of people so that I can be positive. Some people just make it so very difficult when you are close to them.

molly said...

A beautiful thing to strive for, on a Sunday, or any day. I needed to hear this, as there is someone I need to send these kinds of thoughts to......Thanks for a very thoughtful post Chani.

Jen said...

This is a beautiful post, Chani, and sending compassion and lovingkindness to folks I feel have wronged me is something that I will incorporate into my day today.

Thank you.

Olivia said...

I agree that this is a beautiful post for Sacred Sunday, Chani. How silly some people are, but your struggle to see them as people is a wonderful one.

I am reminded of something I read about Christians, that love of enemies is what made them stand out in the early centuries. It is such a difficult but worthwhile practice. I think it must be found in every spiritual tradition.

It is often overlooked or forgotten in churches today, but you are very blessed in that you had a chance to develop your metta practice.

I also find it interesting that your words evoke such strong emotion in people. I wish mine did this, as I think this is a goal of a writer...

Good for you, Chani, and a happy Sacred Sunday to you,

Much love,


heartinsanfrancisco said...

You are certainly right that this is one of the most difficult things to accomplish for so many reasons.

I admire you for being able to do so, against all the impulses you surely had to ignore their existence, (which in itself is a big improvement over getting even.)

Of course the truth is that it is not a matter of whether or not we believe that "they" deserve our lovingkindness; it is that our own survival and growth depend upon offering it.

This was a really nice post, uncomfortable as such posts often are. The fact that they are uncomfortable is proof that we need to read them.

Purple Energy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Leann said...

It is difficult at times to see past the hurt created into the human being doing the damage. We all struggle to maintain that seeing when faced with the pain.

I am proud of you Chani for putting the healing of others above your own pain.


Angela said...

While I'm sorry for your experience, I'm glad for all of us that you decided to share it with, and how you decided to handle it. This is such a great lesson, Chani, and one I also have difficulty with. Usually I have to wait awhile to pray or practice metta when I have been hurt; I eventually get there, but it takes awhile.

Thank you for the beautiful award! I'll get it up on my blog this week. And it was really wonderful to hear your voice yesterday.

secret agent woman said...

Oh, good for you! I've aways thought metta toward those who have hurt you is so hard, but I do believe it works.

dmmgmfm said...

Thank you for this post. It came at a very good time for me.

Billie Greenwood said...

This is profound and sets an excellent example for me.