promise me this day,
promise me now,
while the sun is overhead
exactly at the zenith,
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 thousands worlds of birth and dying.
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.
By Thich Nhat Hanh Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist
I love this poem by Thich Nhat Hanh, it tells us that if we have hatred or strong emotions for the people, or a person who intentionally hurts us, we’ll never have the courage to face and see the situation for what it is. It is having compassion, not hatred that will help us through. Having compassion allows us to rise above the stress and the turmoil that emotions like hatred and anger create in us.
Strong negative emotions cloud our vision, and prevent us from being able to separate the Being of someone from their personality and their actions.
If we can have compassion for them and empathy, it allows us to see into them as they’re delivering the hurt, with no judgement, and to recognise it for what it is.
This does not mean we should allow people to continue to hurt us once we recognise they’re causing us to suffer (and sometimes this is hard to see). But if we have strong emotions towards them, hatred and anger, it could infuse them or cause them to flip and hurt even more.
If we realise that we’re being intentionally hurt, we should try to resolve the situation in a compassionate way, because to let it continue will cause Karma for us and tie us to them even more. Compassion and empathy will help us and help them.
It’s very important before we offer compassion, that we’re in a state of balance, otherwise we could get entangled with them.
If we have compassion, it can allow us to see into their minds as they caused hurt in the past, maybe to us or to other people. If you allow your mind to wander and go back and see into their minds, and what it was like for them, it can’t have been a good feeling for them (unless they’re a psychopath) to knowingly harm people. This awareness will help us to have compassion for them. Many people hurt because they have been hurt themselves, but this does not give them licence or permission to damage others.
The same with our horses, if they do something that frightens us, angers us, it’s better to instantly try to get into a state of balance, then try to have compassion and empathy (hard to do, but important to try and make it a part of how we are). This will defuse the situation, it will calm the horse and us, and enable us to see the situation for what it really is.
I hope you liked this Post, I know it’s hard being compassionate, but being mad and angry only stirs things up, and makes us more emotionally vulnerable, less clear and much more likely to say or do something we’d regret!
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