Love Your Enemies: Stop the Arrows

Oh boy, this is a hard one—at least for me. Maybe for you, too.

I mentioned previously how my Irish temper flares up when I see injustice. It can burn white hot when I see, for example, a partisan politician on TV news, espousing or, worse, implementing policies that are completely against my beliefs and values. I find myself shouting at the TV (with a fair amount of venom!), “Idiot!” Or when a driver dangerously cuts in front of me racing by at 80+ mph, I have a few choice words I mutter directed at that driver. They all make my blood boil!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know: “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” (Although I don’t believe in “sin,” but rather soul wounds that need healing, and karmic life lessons that need learning.)

So how do I do that?? How do I love the sinner, my “enemy”?” How do I love somebody who makes my blood boil? Whose words are the antipathy of everything I believe in? Whose actions cause real-world suffering or endanger lives? Or, in my personal life, whose words or actions really hurt my feelings or trespass on my boundaries?

It’s easy to think of the “enemy” as “the other,” totally different from us. Another religion, ethnicity, political “tribe,” etc. But I think we need to remember that no matter how heinous and damaging their words or actions may be, there’s still a spark of the Divine in that person. There’s Light inside of every Human Being. It may be buried deep, it may have been clouded over by abuse or indoctrination as a child to hate the “other,” or by addiction, or whatever—but the Light is still there. They’re still part of the Oneness, as we are.

I think that their actions are actually “acting out” that’s the result of their soul wounds desperately seeking to be healed. Quite possibly, the worse the acting out, then the worse the wound and suffering attached to it. And then maybe our own soul wounds (or areas of needed learning) get triggered and we respond back in a negative way.

In the previous post1, I talked about counteracting all of the negative, the hatred and anger, the darkness, with our Light by doing random acts of kindness. This post is about the opposite: instead of counteracting the dark, I think we need to become aware of not adding to it . . .

When I shout “Idiot!” at that person on TV or mutter expletives at that driver, I’m shooting an “arrow” of negative, hateful, angry energy out into the Universe aimed at that person’s heart. But if we are all One, then I’ve sent that hateful arrow to all of us—to the hearts of my family and friends, and even to myself. That’s not what I want to be about. Do you?

And we don’t just shoot arrows at politicians or strangers. We also “zing” loved ones (or neighbors or other people in our immediate lives) with a criticism or an impatient comment, or an unspoken critical judgement. Do we somehow think that because they should know that we care about them, we don’t really mean it? It’s still an arrow, and it can still hurt. Are hurtful arrows really what we want to send to the people we care about?

Rather than vilifying the sinner (our enemy), or yelling at the TV, etc., maybe we can instead see the wounded part of them that apparently is in so much pain that they have to lash out and inflict pain on others, even if it’s “just a little arrow” at a family member, neighbor, or whomever.

So how do we shift this arrow blasting?

Consider taking these actions (today!):

Don’t send out energetic “zinger” arrows (or at least neutralize them after sent). Notice when you send out a negative, hateful, angry thought (an energetic arrow) aimed at someone. Then stop it or neutralize it. For example, immediately think (or say out loud), “Cancel that thought.” Or envision the arrow losing momentum and falling harmlessly to the ground. Or envision transmuting it into a beam of Light that surrounds that person and then expands out around the planet and into the Universe. Or create your own way of neutralizing that negative energy, maybe with a quick prayer. And if you zing a family member or friend, do the same and/or “clean it up” by personally apologizing if the arrow was something you said or did.

Do send good “ju-ju.” Depending on your spiritual practice, say a prayer for that person, or surround them with loving and healing Light. If that’s really hard to do (like maybe impossible sometimes??), consider writing in your notebook to get the anger out; write until you can get to that place of compassion, and then send that positive energy to your “enemy.”

This is another one of those actions that I spoke about in the previous post: it requires practice. Sometimes you’ll succeed, sometimes you won’t. But you have to keep trying, and trying, and trying. And know that sometimes the very first step (a big one!) is observing if and when you shoot energetic arrows, then you can start trying to mitigate or stop doing it.

But if you feel like you’re not doing a good job at noticing, neutralizing, or stopping arrows, please don’t beat yourself up. This is, as sociologist Brené Brown2 refers to it, a “practice,” that is, something you’ll work on for the rest of your life. Just keep trying.

This will be hard for me (Thanks, Irish temper!). But let’s bear in mind a couple of things:

  • Without the “dark” that our “enemy” enables us to see, how would we recognize the Light? How would we see what we DON’T want to do or be as a person or as Humanity, and then nurture the opposite, the good, the Light?
  • Getting triggered by an “enemy,” enables one of your wounds or life learnings to be revealed, that is, “learning the Soul you are.” And then doing something positive about it is furthering the Path to Oneness for your Self and for Humanity as a whole.

How cool is that??

So stop the arrows, and start spreading Light. Practice! (And maybe share in Comments below your experiences in doing this, and any interesting things or strategies you discover. It will help us all.)

BTW—Does this mean that we overlook our enemy’s transgressions? Absolutely not. There needs to be some form of accountability, remedy, or counter balancing. But in a manner that reflects who we want to be as Human Beings, as Humanity. This is part of our creating Humanity’s future path—together. A topic for another blog.

BTW2—Keep in mind what that anger does to us physically. Remember how it feels: your heart races, your breath quickens, your gut twists, your teeth grind. Do we really think that’s good for our bodies? All of this damages us, not our enemy—they get off scot-free. Well, except for an energetic arrow to the heart. (Maybe a lot of arrows. And it can’t be fun to be on the receiving end of that. So maybe feel some compassion for them for that reason alone.)

1 “Practice”-ing Oneness

2 Brené Brown

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