September 22NextPrevious   

“My duty to love you”–Daily Metta

“I do not love you because you agree to love me. I love you because I feel it is my duty to love you.”

-–Gandhi (Day to Day with Gandhi, Volume 4)

In the Dhammapada, the Buddha points out a sad but familiar dynamic between us human beings; namely, “people will blame you if you say too much; they will blame you if you say too little, they will blame you if you say just enough. No one on this Earth receives all praise or all blame.” All of us are subject to someone not liking us at some point whether we think we deserve it or not; whether we like the person who does not like us, or even know them! The point is that someone else’s state of mind does not need to affect our own. As my meditation teacher, Eknath Easwaran, puts it (and I paraphrase), if someone doesn’t like you, that’s not the time to move away from them, even if everything inside says to let them have it. Instead, that’s the time to move closer to them. Try to find common ground with them. This is, he reinforces, learning the true meaning of love, and the real grit of nonviolence.

Gandhi was a master at this skill.

What happens to love when we see it as a duty instead of a contract — no longer a question of how much you love me; instead, it becomes whether I have done everything I can to show you kindness, compassion, concern, and empathy. No amount of ill-will directed at us personally should ever diminish our capacity for accessing those human responses. No one can be loved by everyone, but all of us can learn to love everyone. And this is our real need. This is the way of nonviolence, of love, of the truly brave.

Experiment in Nonviolence

Show bravery today by being kind to someone who dislikes you.

The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299