Hatred is a form of chronic anger, and it requires constant feeding, whether it is of low or high intensity. Unless refreshed with repeated thoughts about the initial aggravation, hatred fades on its own. Sadly, we tend to pick at scabs rather than let them heal. Similarly, we tend to feed anger with a steady stream of reminders about how unfairly we’ve been treated. We might even catch ourselves feeling good and then remember that we can’t feel good because we’re angry! If you recognize this process of feeding and enjoying hatred, you can gradually stop doing it.

Of course, you would have to want to stop feeding the angry emotions, and be willing to take a step back from them when they come up. You would have to come to see that you were only punishing yourself, not the object of your anger, by stewing and seething. Seeing the truth of this pattern is key to interrupting and eventually abandoning it. The more often you are able to notice the feeling arising, and step back from it, the sooner the mental habit can be broken. Negative feelings can wane from neglect, but only if you make the decision to apply honest awareness each time the negative feelings come up.

One morning I was drinking tea and reading the newspaper at home. A tension stirred my gut while I read about the actions and words of the (then) President of the United States, as reported in the Washington Post. I noticed when the tension started and how it grew. I noticed that it was connected with an unpleasant voice in my mind, “How can he..?!” The feeling enlarged as I kept my attention on it. I was starting to feel sick. Then there was an epiphany. The President is not feeling this anger — he is not affected by it. No one but me is affected by it. I am poisoning myself, to no purpose. The anger lifted like a cloud in a strong breeze; I felt free. I’m happy to report that since that time “I hate X” has departed from my vocabulary, both external and internal. The poor old (now ex-) President will get by in spite of my disapproval, but he’s no longer an excuse for me to have a tantrum, even within myself. And I’m a better citizen without the poison of hatred.

That’s just one example. Maybe you are lucky enough not to be holding any grudges, or to have pet peeves that can ruin your mood in a moment. But if you do, then give this exercise some thought.

About lynnjkelly

Australian/American. Practicing Buddhist.
This entry was posted in Anger. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Hatred

  1. ari says:

    Until one knows what is in the mind, the healing process would not start. You are absolutely correct. Thanks for the thoughts.

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