With Hate, We Destroy Ourselves
I heard a talk today that lessened my misery that comes from looking at the headlines.
My days begin the same way:
Each morning brings a mix of interest and dread as I review the news and sip my tea.
I end up feeling awful.
Three types of news emerge:
- The venom of politicians who seem to hate–well–just about everyone who doesn’t look like them,
- The reporters’ response to words uttered from those in power, and
- Advice from writers about how to react to the news and stay sane.
Let me give you some real-life examples so you know my reaction isn’t hyperbolic.
Venom: our current president called Mexicans “rapists”
Reporters’ response: “it’s chilling” when the president calls the news media “the enemy of the people,” and his “attacks on the media don’t just reflect his annoyance. He’s trying to weaken the greatest institutional check on his illegal acts”
And advice from writers to cope post-election: “hydrating, eating well, getting enough sleep and physical activity.”
Today started in the usual way:
I review the news, work the crossword puzzle (and see if I can best my time), and then sink into despair about the State of the Nation.
Unlike most days, today my sweetheart and I attended a talk by a seasoned Zen teacher (who is also a physician with a rational streak) who cleared the air of despair.
The teacher asked the crowd to think about politicians who inflame our bile.
She read a statement about a leading politico and said, “Now think about this person with your head.”
Then the teacher read the same statement and told us: “Now think about this person with your heart.”
The audience talked about how our viewpoints changed when we considered with our heads, and then with our hearts.
Most of us–thinking with our heads–said we thought the politician was a jerk.
But when we considered with our hearts, most of us softened.
We felt sorry for the lonely, unloved bully who spews vitriol.
“Hate multiplies hate,” the teacher said.
Then she read from Martin Luther King’s 1963 book, Strength to Love.
“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
“Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
“Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”
What a superb reminder that hate only drives more hate.
26 February 2017
Photo of Martin Luther Jing, Jr., from the Seattle Times (uncredited)