“To love our enemy is impossible. The moment we understand our enemy, we feel compassion towards him or her, and he or she is no longer our enemy.” Thich Nhat Hanh
You may question if it is necessary to love your enemy at all. You may consider an enemy as a person to be treated with hostility.
However, the more you hold on to the hypothesis of the enemy, the more you will suffer inside. In this article, I will discuss some tips on extending loving-kindness toward an enemy or a difficult person in your life.
Who is your enemy?
An enemy is someone with whom you have an ill will. Upon the occurrence of a particular incident, you will cling to the unpleasant memories which spoiled your healthy relationship with a particular individual.
Thereafter, your ill-will may be triggered by the vision, sound, or behavior of the particular individual. When you are by yourself, you will recollect him and start feeling fear or irritation.
When you are not aware of how to handle those negative feelings, you will react either physically or verbally toward the other person.
Is it possible to spread loving kindness to your enemy?
Absolutely. The enemy is a convention that you created in the mind upon the occurrence of certain incidents related to the particular individual. If you really analyze the situation, you will find It is the nature of human beings to make mistakes.
Therefore, do not be reluctant to get rid of any unpleasant feelings you have toward a person and fill your heart with love and kindness for that person.
How to contemplate regarding your enemy?
Contemplating good things about your enemy can be difficult at first. You need a quiet moment to envision the particular individual whom you consider your enemy.
When you find a quiet spot, visualize the image of your enemy. Analyze what character trait of the enemy makes you feel unpleasant or irritated. Also, identify and analyze the reason behind a particular behavior of the individual.
Start by recollecting any good quality of the enemy
There are no 100% good or bad persons in an average society. Everyone has good qualities as well as bad qualities in different proportions. Therefore, try to remember some good qualities of the particular person.
This could be a smile shared when he was on good terms with you or some other help he extended towards another person.
Appreciate the good qualities of your enemy without having any anger or jealousy. Also, feel happy about what he is today.
Why is it important to recollect good qualities of your enemy?
By remembering a good quality of your enemy, the idea of “enemy “will get shaken. What you have done so far is to find evidence against your enemy and present them in the court created in your mind.
You are the plaintiff and all the witnesses are in your favor. Then you start presenting evidence such as “he did this to me, he scolded me like this, he insulted my family” etc. When those kinds of evidence gather in your mind, it would be hard for you to forgive and forget your enemy.
If this type of thinking remains for a long period of time, you will lose the balance of your mind. Instead, there is a way to transform your mind through loving-kindness.
First, fulfil your heart with loving kindness
The idea is to let your heart filled with love and kindness so that you can share it with your enemy.
Loving kindness meditation can be best practiced when you are physically and mentally comfortable.
So make sure you are in a comfortable place and posture without being disturbed by others for a few moments.
- Keep your hands gently clasped in front of you
- Take a few deep breaths to relax yourself
- Bring your awareness to the present moment
- For example, keep your attention on the touch of the breath as you inhale and exhale
Then contemplate, “may I be well, happy, and peaceful, may no harm come to me, may no difficulty come to me. May I be free from all sufferings.”
Extend loving kindness to your loved ones
Then extend the above well wish for someone you like. For example, “may my parents be well, happy, and peaceful, may no harm come to my parents, may no difficulty come to my parents. May they be free from all sufferings.”
Love your enemy
Once you feel sense of friendliness in your mind, you are ready to direct loving kindness to your enemy.
Contemplate “I pardon those who have harmed me or hurt me.
Likewise, pardon everyone who harmed you or hurt you during your life time.
At the same time, ask for pardon from everyone whom you have hurt or harmed in your life.
Can you spread loving-kindness to your enemy in the first place?
You may question why there is a chronological order in spreading loving-kindness meditation? Is it not possible to place an enemy in the first place?
Well, it is not easy for us to think any goodness in our enemies. Depend on how intense the feelings are; you may also encounter body sensations when you remember your enemy.
Therefore, it is important to spread loving-kindness to yourself, loved ones and then come to your enemy. If you really invest time in practicing this technique, you will realize your anger will start dissolving gradually.
It will come to a point where you can recollect your enemy with no hard feelings. Life moves on fast. People who trouble us at one chapter of life may not even matter to us on another chapter of life.
Therefore, be wise enough to safeguard your mind by spreading loving kindness when you encounter any unpleasant person. The final goal should be not to have any enemy in your life and be friendly with all beings in the world.