Yoga: How and why we should love our enemies, including David Cameron – metta meditation
I know! Shocking isn’t it? The very idea of considering that David Cameron is of the same species as us, let alone has a beating heart like every other human being!?
However, have you ever considered that the more you get angry at the actions of another, no matter how justified, the greater your own dis-ease and discontentment? The basis of yoga is a code of conduct which leads us to a place of inner peace. One key limb of this philosophy is the practice of ahimsa – non-violence both in thought and action. If our thoughts are as powerful as our reality because they are in fact our reality, to wish ill upon another human being is in direct violation of this. In a world in which we are all connected, whatever we do to others, we also do to ourselves. The idea behind the quote – anger is like giving someone else poison but drinking it yourself – carries some truth. We all get angry from time to time but holding onto resentment can actually make us ill.
Emotions are real and affect our perspective of the world. Apparently, Earth is the only planet in the universe where the inhabitants experience emotions. This makes human beings unique and what is unique about them is our capacity for empathy. The more that we see our ‘enemies’ as ‘other,’ the more we reinforce this separateness.
Here I am not suggesting that we condone the behaviour of people who behave cruelly but instead, we recognise in them, their humanity and give them the opportunity to recognise it in themselves because no matter how evil we consider someone to be, underneath, they are still human and to give someone love who clearly needs it, can only help us. You may feel that they only way to get someone to change a negative behaviour is to challenge them on it but energy is more potent than action and their are ways of going about a challenge peacefully – Ghandi at least taught us this along with such figures as the Dalai Lama.
“Each one of us has the capacity for boundless love and kindness.
That’s why it can’t be given or acquired.
We’re like water. Water can’t become any wetter, because being wet is not something apart from water.
In the same way, love and kindness are not attributes that we can add to our being. Our true self is loving and kind at its core.
Zen Master John Tarrant says :
If you are busy thinking you should be kind, you might miss the reality that kindness is already present. In you.”
Mr Cameron appears to have forgotten this. His loving kindness is buried so deep within him, along with all those who control him, that we must help him remember what it feels like. We must remember that he too feels suffering. In fact, he probably feels more suffering than the average person which is what drives him to such behavioural extremes. What the outsider sees is someone in a vicious battle for money and power. What we may not be aware of is how utterly painful his life is if he is not feeding this addiction. What the public is missing is how horribly cruel he thinks the world is and how much he is trying to make it better and by default, himself.
Of course, we the public know that the way he is going about this is wrong. We can see that inequality and prejudice thrive whilst the planet suffers more abuse. Mr Cameron has not understood that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes. He promotes the separation and segregation of society and rewards those who fulfill the criteria he sets for being worthy of such a reward.
However, when we look deeper, we can see that it is not only politicians who are guilty. We each have a part to play. Much of the rhetoric we see with regard to politics reflects that this separation exists in everyone’s consciousness. We are all guilty of using terms such as ‘rich’ and ‘poor’, upper class and middle class, working class and more. We continue to pit one against the other, fuelling the war. Yet if we step back, we start to see that regardless of the car someone drives, the house they live in, the amount of land they own etc. we are all the same. When we start to see the world in these terms, the world becomes a lot more friendly. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life.
As long as we live in this world we are bound to encounter problems. If, at such times, we lose hope and become discouraged, we diminish our ability to face difficulties. If, on the other hand, we remember that it is not just ourselves but every one who has to undergo suffering, this more realistic perspective will increase our determination and capacity to overcome troubles. Indeed, with this attitude, each new obstacle can be seen as yet another valuable opportunity to improve our mind.
I would love to hear any accounts of how you might have dealt with an enemy kindly? Please do send them in/comment below with thoughts and ideas.