Have you ever had a love-hate relationship?
A recent talk by the Dalai Lama captured on video focuses on defining genuine compassion and touches on the origins of love or hate in a relationship. I embed it here today where I am trying to focus on thoughts of a peaceful future.
Compassion is a difficult concept that has many faces and means different things to different people. We may love someone and think it is compassion. But that same love may turn to hatred or oscillate between the two. It is certainly true that for women, if they are a victim of murder it is most often at the hands of someone they know and at one point, loved.
In the international scene many of the leaders we love and support during one period of our history, we hate or even kill during another period. Even our international social behavior has love-hate relationships. In my own experience some of the deepest relationships have fallen into that kind of an abyss, the love-hate relationship–no fun in the long run I think, and not the relationships that last.
In this very short commentary from the Dalai Lama, who is a modern day hero to many, I was struck by his idea that the bias introduced by attachment is what brings hatred. The bias comes in when the person we love or hate means something to us because of what they do, say or feel about or toward us. Their effect on us may be something we come to see as more important than their own development, growth, fulfillment.
If attachment is the origin of love-hate, then compassion may be the origin of peace.
Unbiased compassion would apply to people we are intimately close to as well as to our enemy. This would be the feeling that everyone, or every creature has the right to change, to grow, to get over suffering, to be happy. Something like this is how I hope our national ideals would be–that bit about equality in life, liberty, pursuit of happiness.
I’m feeling a real need to work on compassion as my next experiment, and to look for ways to help it grow in my community and my country.
What do you think about good methods to help compassion grow?