Meditations on Loving our enemies

But far from being an impractical idealist, Jesus has become the practical realist. The words of this text glitter in our eyes with a new urgency. Far from being the pious injunction of a utopian dreamer, this command is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. Yes, it is love that will save our world and our civilization, love even for enemies.He realized that it’s difficult to love those persons who seek to defeat you, those persons who say evil things about you. He realized that it was painfully hard, pressingly hard. But he wasn’t playing. — Rev Dr Martin Luther King, full text: https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/loving-your-enemies-sermon-delivered-dexter-avenue-baptist-church

If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers because their presence provides you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience and understanding. — Dalai Lama

To “love our enemy” is impossible, because the moment we love him, he is no longer our enemy. — Thich Nhat Hanh
When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others. — Archbishop Rev Desmond Tutu

SONGS about LOVING ENEMIES

ENEMY — Carleton Ford Shaw

The reason for my laughter lies
Not deep nor far:
The way you have of hating me
For what you are!

PRAYER

Oh God, help us in our lives and in all of our attitudes, to work out this controlling force of love, this controlling power that can solve every problem that we confront in all areas. Oh, we talk about politics; we talk about the problems facing our atomic civilization. Grant that all men [all people] will come together and discover that as we solve the crisis and solve these problems—the international problems, the problems of atomic energy, the problems of nuclear energy, and yes, even the race problem—let us join together in a great fellowship of love and bow down at the feet of Jesus. Give us this strong determination. In the name and spirit of this Christ, we pray. Amen. — Rev Dr Martin Luther King

“Love my enemies, enemy my love”

Rebecca Seiferle

Oh, we fear our enemy’s mind, the shape

in his thought that resembles the cripple

in our own, for it’s not just his fear

we fear, but his love and his paradise.

We fear he will deprive us of our peace

of mind, and, fearing this, are thus deprived,

so we must go to war, to be free of this

terror, this unremitting fear, that he might

he might, he might. Oh it’s hard to say

what he might do or feel or think.

Except all that we cannot bear of

feeling or thinking—so his might

must be met with might of armor

and of intent—informed by all the hunker

down within the bunker of ourselves.

How does he love? and eat? and drink?

He must be all strategy or some sick lie.

How can reason unlock such a door,

for we bar it too with friends and lovers,

in waking hours, on ordinary days?

Finding the other so senseless and unknown,

we go to war to feel free of the fear

of our own minds, and so come

to ruin in our hearts of ordinary days.

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The young Buddhist workers in Vietnam tried to do this kind of meditation. Many of them died during service. I wrote a poem for my young brothers and sisters on how to die nonviolently, without hatred. — Thich Nhat Hanh

RECOMMENDATION

Promise me, promise me this day,
promise me now, while the sun is overhead
exactly at the zenith, promise me:

Even as they strike you down
with a mountain of hatred and violence;
even as they step on you and
crush you like a worm,
even as they dismember and disembowel you,
remember, brother, remember: man is not your enemy.

The only thing worthy of you is compassion —
invincible, limitless, unconditional.
Hatred will never let you face the beast in man.

One day, when you face this beast alone,
with your courage intact,
your eyes kind, untroubled
(even as no one sees them),
out of your smile will bloom a flower.

And those who love you will behold you
across ten thousand worlds of birth and dying.

Alone again, I will go on with bent head,
knowing that love has become eternal.

On the long, rough road,
the sun and the moon will continue to shine.

About LOVING the ENEMY: Start with Yourself First

If there is love, there is hope that one may have real families, real brotherhood, real equanimity, real peace. If the love within your mind is lost and you see other beings as enemies, then no matter how much knowledge or education or material comfort you have, only suffering and confusion will ensue. — Dalai Lama

It is our lack of love for ourselves that inhibits our compassion toward others. If we make friends with ourselves, then there is no obstacle to opening our hearts and minds to others. — Pema Chödrön

Now first let us deal with this question, which is the practical question: How do you go about loving your enemies? I think the first thing is this: In order to love your enemies, you must begin by analyzing self…  we must face the fact that an individual might dislike us because of something that we’ve done deep down in the past, some personality attribute that we possess, something that we’ve done deep down in the past and we’ve forgotten about it; but it was that something that aroused the hate response within the individual. That is why I say, begin with yourself. There might be something within you that arouses the tragic hate response in the other individual.
    This is true in our international struggle. We look at the struggle, the ideological struggle between communism on the one hand and democracy on the other, and we see the struggle between America and Russia…Democracy is the greatest form of government to my mind that man has ever conceived, but the weakness is that we have never touched it. Isn’t it true that we have often taken necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes? Isn’t it true that we have often in our democracy trampled over individuals and races with the iron feet of oppression? Isn’t it true that through our Western powers we have perpetuated colonialism and imperialism? And all of these things must be taken under consideration as we look at Russia. We must face the fact that the rhythmic beat of the deep rumblings of discontent from Asia and Africa is at bottom a revolt against the imperialism and colonialism perpetuated by Western civilization all these many years… So we begin to love our enemies and love those persons that hate us whether in collective life or individual life by looking at ourselves.— Rev Dr Martin Luther King, full text: https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/loving-your-enemies-sermon-delivered-dexter-avenue-baptist-church

LOVING the ENEMY: Seeing the Good in Others

Every single being, even those who are hostile to us, is just as afraid of suffering as we are, and seeks happiness in the same way we do. Every person has the same right as we do to be happy and not to suffer. So let’s take care of others wholeheartedly, of both our friends and our enemies. This is the basis for true compassion. — Dalai Lama

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.— Nelson Mandela

A second thing that an individual must do in seeking to love his enemy is to discover the element of good in his enemy, and every time you begin to hate that person and think of hating that person, realize that there is some good there and look at those good points which will over-balance the bad points. I’ve said to you on many occasions that each of us is something of a schizophrenic personality. We’re split up and divided against ourselves. And there is something of a civil war going on within all of our lives… And this simply means this: That within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals. The person who hates you most has some good in him; even the nation that hates you most has some good in it; even the race that hates you most has some good in it. And when you come to the point that you look in the face of every man and see deep down within him what religion calls “the image of God,” you begin to love him in spite of. — Rev Dr. Martin Luther King

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