Hating and loving – a meditation on attachment and non-attachment
A great fear
“I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they turn to loving they will find we are turned to hating” - Msimangu in Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Hating is easy, loving is hard
Hating is easy, loving is hard.
Perhaps that is why we seem oftener to fall into hate than into love.
Hating is easy, it takes little effort and can be done very quickly.
Loving is hard, it means taking effort and time.
Hating is easy, it does not engage my imagination.
Loving is hard, and I have to make an effort to imagine what life is like for the other person, whether close to me or far away.
Hating is easy, and to act it out requires little discipline.
Loving is hard, and to make it work takes much discipline.
Hating is easy, and I don't have to think too much about it.
Loving is hard, because I have to think about it.
“We can only love what we know, and we can never know completely what we do not love. Love is a mode of knowledge, and when the love is sufficiently disinterested and sufficiently intense, the love becomes unitive knowledge and so takes on the quality of infallibility.”
- Aldous Huxley in The Perennial Philosophy
Hating is easy, it keeps others at a distance from me.
Loving is hard, I have to take others into my space, my life, my mind and my feelings.
Hating is easy, loving is hard.
Hating is easy, because the responsibility is shifted to the other, the object of my hate.
Loving is hard, because I am responsible, there can be no excuses.
Hating is easy, it takes little involvement from me.
Loving is hard, it demands my total involvement.
Hating is easy, it takes little courage.
Loving is hard, it takes more courage than I have.
Hating is easy, it takes few risks.
Loving is hard, it is very risky.
Hating is easy, and I have many people who hate with me.
Loving is hard, and I often feel very alone.
Hating is the wide gate that Jesus spoke of: “The gate is wide that leads to perdition, there is plenty of room on the road.”
Loving is the narrow gate that Jesus spoke of: “the gate that leads to life is small and the road is narrow, and those who find it are few.”
Hating is finding the speck of sawdust in another's eye.
Loving is finding the plank in my own eye and taking it out before it clouds my vision fatally.
Hate is judging, and finding the other person wanting.
Loving is not judging but accepting, not with eyes closed to evil, but with eyes open to the possibility of good.
When truth knocks on the door
"We must not be attached to a view or a doctrine,even a Buddhist one... The Buddha said that if in a certain moment or place you adopt something as the absolute truth and you attach to that...then you will no longer have any chance to reach the truth.
Even when the truth comes and knocks on your door, and asks you to open the door, you won't recognize it. So you must not be too attached to dogma - to what you believe, and to what you perceive."
Thich Nhat Hanh
The desire to be right
“There is no more destructive force in human affairs — not greed, not hatred — than the desire to have been right. Non-attachment to possessions is of trivial value in comparison with non-attachment to opinions” - Mark Kleiman http://atheism.about.com/od/weeklyquotes/a/kleiman01.htm
Hating is easy, it breaks down, destroys, without planning.
Loving is hard, it builds both people and things with effort and forethought.
Hating is easy, it demands no accountability from me.
Loving is hard, it demands that I be accountable for what I do ad think and say.
Hating is easy and feels like freedom, but really enslaves, it feels like being in control but is really handing control over to someone else.
Loving is hard, it demands total freedom without compromise.
Hating is easy and comes from attachment to self, to the fruits of my work, to my goals, holding onto what I value and cherish.
Love is hard and comes from non-attachment, letting go of everything, including the need to be right; it means a deep level of trusting.
Hating is easy, it requires little or no choice, just to do without thought.
Loving is hard, it means that I have to think about my response in any situation, and to consciously choose the loving response, the building and growing response, the response which will cause others and myself least harm.
Hating is easy and the choices of thought, word and action are made for me.
Loving is hard and I have to make the effort, make the choices and accept the responsibility for them. No excuses, no blame, no expectations, no attachment, even to love and hate.
And in the end, if I go on hating, I will find myself alone on a dangerous road.
But if I can let go of both loving and hating, I will likely find myself surrounded by many loving companions along the way.
The road less travelled by
Robert Frost wrote in “The Road not Taken”:
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
When that dawn will come
Alan Paton wrote at the end of his great novel Cry the Beloved Country:
“The sun tips with light the mountains of Angeli and East Griqualand. The great valley of the Umzimkulu is still in darkness, but the light will come there. Ndotsheni is still in darkness, but the light will come there also. For it is the dawn that has come, as it has come for a thousand centuries, never failing. But when that dawn will come, of our emancipation, from the fear of bondage and the bondage of fear, why, that is a secret.”
The text and all images on this page, unless otherwise indicated, are by Tony McGregor who hereby asserts his copyright on the material. Should you wish to use any of the text or images feel free to do so with proper attribution and, if possible, a link back to this page. Thank you.
© Tony McGregor 2011
A lovingkindness (Metta) meditation
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