Hate is a sneaky, invisible force.
One of the ways it spreads is by working through an individual’s own mind and heart. When we witness hate, we may begin to experience feelings of hate and outrage, closing our own hearts and minds to people committing acts of crime and violence. This is the unseen way in which hate transmits.
This means we’ve got to outsmart our lower tendencies. Martin Luther King reminded us that, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
How can we drive out hate with love? How can we keep our spirits high when faced with the density of fear?
Here are 5 mindful practices that will consistently transmute darkness into light:
- Acknowledge hate and how it makes you feel. Sometimes when we experience hurtful behaviors, we resort to our own unconscious defense mechanisms such as anger, avoidance and righteousness. Observe your own reactions and sit with them. Ask yourself, “do my responses serve a higher purpose?”
- Engage mindfully. What do you do when you witness bullying? What’s necessary to de-escalate or help someone in need? Tune in and ask within what would be most helpful. Sometimes it is better to be safe than confrontational. Other times, it may be better to speak up loud and clear.
- Meditate daily. A consistent practice is instrumental to generating true peace from within. The more you practice the easier it is to access this inner-state of being. Your personal practice, however “long or good”, contributes to a more peaceful world. When we take time to raise our own consciousness, it automatically goes into the collective “bank.”
- Practice compassion. The key word is “practice.” Compassion is an inner muscle that helps us to see the bigger picture and act with loving kindness. Not only does it reduce stress, it helps increase human connection. It also cultivates clarity and calm so that we are empowered to act with love.
- Take Positive Action. If you feel passionate about creating change in the world, be a positive agent and be proactive. Join groups who support diversity, or consider donating. Perhaps it simply means being kinder to a neighbor– or even yourself. Just practice kindness all around and notice what happens.
One of the best ways to raise your resilience to hatefulness is to set an intention or pray each day. Metta meditation is the universal practice of loving kindness towards all living beings. When you practice metta consistently, you will notice an internal shift that becomes reflected in your external reality. You’ll experience more peace, ease and joy in your everyday life.
May all beings be safe
May all beings be peaceful
May all beings be free