I have been working with the Loving-kindness (Metta) meditation as taught by the Buddha. There is a significant portion where you send metta to your enemies. I have, however, had problems with this because I don’t feel that I have any enemies. Today, I met my enemies!
My partner is my enemy. My friends are my enemy. My co-workers are my enemy. How? Well, I love these people dearly and get along with them very well. But there are times when they are impatient, gruff or they misunderstand me and I, them. This can cause me to totally lose my mindfulness and metta. In that way, they are soldiers of Mara, robbing me of my peace. In that moment, they are my enemy. This does not mean I intend to strike them down or they deserve any negative thoughts. Not at all! Because in the next moment, after the emotions have settled, these same people will be helping me. They are my friends.
So, do the labels matter? If we take things down to reality, without our perceptions, we will begin to see that each person is teaching us a lesson. No enemy, no friend, just teacher. Does that feel more or less true? It feels more true for me. We are all here to help each other out. Sometimes perceptions get in the way, and we label things to decide what to love and what to hate. But in end the reality rules and is much more gentle than we.
A new quote I picked up from twitter is by venerable monk Thich Nhat Hanh: “I breath in, I calm myself. I breath out, I smile.” For me, this settles the mind and clears the heart. I see past the labels and begin, I hope, to see reality.
Maybe we should all work to calm ourselves and smile. Then, our enemies and friends will disappear and our teachers will emerge. Maybe then we will be ready for the lessons they are here to teach!
Breathing in, I see you. Breathing out, I send you love.