Resolving Conflict

by E. Raymond Rock - Date: 2007-01-14 - Word Count: 862 Share This!

What we extend outward toward others, we internalize. Whether the emotions are negative, such as hatred, animosity, and anger or positive, such as love, forgiveness, and peace, these feelings seep inside of us and affect us deeply, both emotionally and physically. You can feel the physical difference between, on one hand, hating someone, and on the other, forgiving someone. One is restricted and one is spacious, and our body reacts accordingly with feelings of stress or feelings of ease. The person we hate, or forgive, only feels the rejection or acceptance momentarily, where we, conversely, feel it constantly. This is because it is never them that we hate, but we, ourselves, that we hate, and the feeling is there all the time. We are always the recipients of our actions, no one else. We hate ourselves because the ego that we have created in our minds is a terrible burden to sustain, even if we think the opposite; that our ego is delightful.

Positive emotions create spaciousness, they create acceptance, and love accompanied by a feeling of completion. Hatred and anger, negative emotions, create closed-in feelings of conflict, and a feeling that something is left undone, which creates tension. Because we are under the influence of our illusions, we take steps to make certain that our hatred and anger is never directed at ourselves. We do this by searching for targets outside of ourselves in order to vent these negative emotions, and when we run out of distant targets, the targets become those closest to us.

We erroneously think that if we can only eliminate the people and ideas that we hate, or change them, the hatred will go away, but this never quite works out. There are always uncountable people and conflicting opinions to hate. The reason for this is that the hatred comes from inside, and if there is nothing to externalize the hatred on, we begin to hate ourselves. We are ever on a mission to discover new things outside of us to hate, and we try to keep the hatred alive, sometimes even over long periods of time, decades. It protects us from looking at ourselves. Part of the illusion is that we, each one of us, are unchanging entities. We become concrete images in our minds complete with a set of uncompromising opinions. Concrete images of others and concrete images of ourselves is based on memory, and instead of being here and now and discovering ourselves and everybody else in a new light moment to moment, we chisel ourselves into marble statues based on memory and thought. And statues, memory, and thought are all dead.

Being truly alive is being completely absorbed into our passion, whatever it is. There is no room for hatred here. Those who are passionless, who have not discovered that which they love to do, will become caught up in the past, in the images and thoughts that haunt them constantly. Within our true passion is the absence of thought. In the moment of discovery, thought is never present, only creativeness.

Few discover these things, and as a result, many live a life filled with stress. This is a sad thing. And if someone would mention to them that there is a creative spaciousness of mind, that is absent of memory and thought, and a spaciousness that will introduce them to their individual creativeness and passion, they will be suspicious of any new ideas. Their habit patterns of hatred will instead look upon ideas alien to their conditioning as targets of hatred. This is symptomatic of closed minds, and the reason humanity continues to war with each other even after countless years of culture, in our families, our neighborhoods, and our world.

A new consciousness is slowly evolving, however. If you hate, dislike, detest . . . look into it for your own good. You are only hurting yourself and creating karma that will come back on you, if not in this lifetime, in subsequent lifetimes. Begin with meditation, which will slow things down so that you will see how an initial feeling of fear spins out of control with a succeeding flurry of thoughts, turning the fear into hatred. You only have to see this once, clearly, and the hatred ends. The fearless never hate, and meditation, if practiced for some time, breeds fearlessness. The one that we hate so, our separate ego, slowly evolves with meditation. It becomes extremely intelligent, and because it begins to realize the interconnectedness of all beings, it begins to experience genuine courage because it is no longer isolated and alone. It now has the courage to understand others, see their side of things; stand in their shoes, and feel authentic compassion toward them. Then the fear is gone. Then we can be integrated beings once more. It's a great relief.

And if none of the above makes any sense to you at all (maybe you even hate it!), then simply look to the saviors and sages throughout history. Did they profess love, or did they spread hatred? They professed love, of course, and if you are a person of faith, to hate instead of forgive would be nothing less than a contradiction of your beliefs.

Related Tags: meditation, negative emotions, integrated beings, spaciousness of mind, true passion, creativeness

E. Raymond Rock is cofounder and principal teacher at the Southwest Florida Insight Center in Fort Myers Florida. His 28 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents, including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk. He has practiced with Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Maha Boowa, Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Tui, Bhante Gunaratana, Roshi Kennett, Seung Sahn Sunim, Trungpa Rinpoche, the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco. His new book, A Year to Enlightenment (Career Press/New Page Books), is available at major bookstores and on-line.

Personal Transformations Copyright © E. Raymond Rock 2006. All rights reserved.

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