What do we do with the negative emotions of the human experience? In today’s blog, we explore the emotion of hatred.
Setting the bar
While the perfectionist in me has set the spiritual evolution bar to be situated somewhere between the Dalai Lama and Jesus Christ, real life continues to remind me that I am nothing more than human. I have grown accustomed to the revelations of my humanness in emotions such as grief and resentment and in personality traits such as impatience and rigidity. This weekend, however, I was shocked and surprised to come face to face with the cold hard reality of an emotion I had thought long ago healed. This emotion is hatred.
The revelation of hatred as being something that still exists within me came through a series of journaling exercises and life experiences. I won’t bore you with the details, but I was shocked when suddenly I felt all the energy of my body, my mind and my spirit contract and hurl itself into the center of my chest where it became the cold black hole of hatred. My eyes turned black, the tendons along the sides of my neck and on the top of my shoulders unfurled like the poisonous lizards from the movie Holes, black spikes like a medieval flail sprung up along my back, my fists and jaw clenched and I’m sure that smoke was coming out of my ears. I felts as if I were to open my mouth, a swarm of black nails would fly out in pursuit of the objects of my hatred. And I can tell you that if I actually possessed this superhero power, in that moment, I would have employed it! I do have to say, however, that tapping into the cold depths of hatred was actually terrifying. It is a feeling that quite frankly scared the crap out of me.
What do you do with Hatred?
Considering I am not usually one to act violently, I’m pretty sure I will not be acting on the hatred that recently surfaced. I’m not even sure I totally understand this emotion. It feels akin to resentment, which I have recently been invited to recognize as a natural response to our needs not being met. Hatred, however, feels like RESENTMENT times A MILLION. While there may be elements in this hatred related to needs not being met, it feels like something more than this. Normally, I would explore compassion, empathy, forgiveness as possible paths to healing this hatred, but with this hatred, there seems to be something about the lack of culpability and a distinct intention to harm. How does one have empathy or compassion for cruelty? These are the questions I ponder when I look into the mirror and see the black steel eyes of hatred staring back at me.
Hatred and Boundaries
If I consider hatred to be the much uglier sister to resentment, then I am invited to explore the possibility that hatred might be arising to ask me to set some new boundaries. The serenity prayer comes to mind, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” I have come to recognize that I cannot change the instigators of the hatred. I can, however, change my relationship to these instigators. So perhaps this is the invitation….to recognize the hatred as a BIG HUGE RED FLAG that says, “YOU DO NOT NEED TO PUT UP WITH CRUELTY!” Holy crap, now that is a revelation! And this is exactly what my buddy, the Dalai Lama did in the face of intolerable cruelty at the hand of Chairman Mao and his communist regime, he left. HHHMMMMM Maybe I will grow up to be the Dalai Lama afterall … 😉
Where have you experienced hatred in your life?
How did you choose to respond?
How can the experience of hatred be used as a tool for effective healing and change?
Authentic Freedom Ministries
PS: The picture of Sasuke Uchiha above is in honor of my daughter who LOVESSSSSSS him!!!