Since I went to a negative place yesterday, I want to swing the pendulum to the other side. It’s not even that I want to… I have to. I need to do this for me. Well, it’s already done. Whenever I go to a place of anger, or sadness, or disappointment – any negative emotion, I have a series of self-reflexive thoughts/memories/moments that come up to remind me that life is not all bad. I can ignore these helpful hints as easily as anyone else can, but I choose not to.
I’ve always chosen love over hate. Of course I have had my moments of falling too deeply into either, without adequate preparation for the consequences, making it difficult to dig myself out of the sheer bliss or sheer resentment of whatever person/situation incited either emotion. Neither is healthy in this physical world – for the reason that we have body chemistry that responds inadequately to the depths of these emotions.
True, it would seem that love would be the healthier option – and for the most part it is. I have always tried to be a lover of all. I have an older Maori woman as a close friend in New Zealand and she refuses to ever use the word ‘hate.’ You’d know she was really unhappy with someone/something when she would say she didn’t like them/it. I kinda laughed about it, but I respected her, and so I respected her feelings towards the word. I think that her aversion to the word helped me to become conscious of how often I would decidedly proclaim my “hatred” of things, and I realized that it was all too often.
No one should go around hating everything. And my whole life, I’ve thought of myself as someone who loves everything. So why use the word ‘hate’ as often as I did? These were, and still are, perplexing thoughts.
And what did I hate? Maybe things like fake people, or aggressive drivers, or people who hurt others or who pollute without remorse. I used to decidedly hate the powers that be in our world. It’s always people, anyhow. We are the common denominator for extreme emotions.
Well, this wonderful Maori woman helped teach me that none of these people deserve hatred. As a loving person, I have the compassion to understand that these people need love, too.
I have the patience to give to these people, to help them see how upsetting their ways are, hearing out their own reasoning for why they act in the ways that they do.
I have the persistence and perseverance to stay with these people, to keep coming back, and patiently showing them the error of their ways.
I have the empathy to understand that they have reasons for the ways that they act that hurt others, and I, too, have the empathy for those being hurt to convey the shape of that pain to those who hurt them.
I have the confidence to approach any of the people who are hurting others, or being hurt, and do what I can, listen how I can, and work to remedy the pain and share the joys of love.
And I have the honesty to admit my errors in judgment, action, or inadequate understanding, as well as my place in the creation of pain, and I have the discipline to change my ways and make amends for what I’ve done to hurt others or the world as a whole.
These are the pillars on which we build real love. Falling in love is a fallacy; one that requires zero effort and no pain to get through. When the effort and pain arrive, people imagine that they’ve done something wrong, not realizing that their body chemistry is no longer driving their feelings, but their rational, human side is actually bumping up between love and hurt, being funneled between the two, and not knowing where to turn or how to get out.
Laying out under the stars last night, I was meditating and Zenek came around to cuddle with me. Having his little doggy head nestled in the crook of my arm, with him breathing what I inferred to be happy sighs right in my ear, I felt what falling in love can be like. I never truly allow myself to experience that with a human because I understand how incomplete, distracting and disorienting that feeling of falling can be. But when it comes to Nature, she never lies. Zenek was there to be with me in one moment, and as soon as I was ready to get up, he was off on his way. There is no human need for pretension or putting on a show with animals. I guess Zenek is teaching me that to be a good audience member for this performance of Life, we need to let things happen as they are acted out and appreciate the moments where we can exchange or release pure feelings, without ever needing to attach ourselves to them.
The biggest lesson in all of this is keeping pace with what life gifts to us, whether these gifts may seem good or bad on the surface. At the end of our lives, we see that everything was a lesson to help us navigate between love and hate, which is the only path to the fullness of joy in the midst of our physical existence.