Fourteen Precepts in Fourteen Days: Day Six
Sixth: Do not maintain anger or hatred. As soon as anger and hatred arise, practice the meditation on compassion in order to deeply understand the persons who have caused anger and hatred. Learn to look at other beings with the eyes of compassion.
Being Peace, by Thich Nhat Hanh
A little note about this precept project. I worry that I’m coming off like someone who knows something about all of this, which is really not the case at all. The purpose of this project was to keep me from the brink of despair. To give me a little piece of text to riff about and to try to put something out there into the cybersphere that was about peace, forgiveness, love. And to try to remind myself every morning, that peace must start in our own hearts. It’s Lent, when we’re asked to look inside ourselves and to acknowledge our personal failings. Believe me, my heart is not a peaceful place, and I am a long way from living in right speech (my love of gossip, a fatal flaw). I’m still failing to generate any lovingkindess energy for Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney … although this meditation on the precepts did help me refrain from getting in an email spat yesterday with a tetchy co-worker. So that’s something I suppose.
Annie Lamott writes about this subject beautifully in this morning’s Salon. I don’t know if she’s still in the subscriber-only section, but this was the quote that really struck me (since I continue to fail at this project):
I am going to pray for George Bush’s heart to change, so that he begins to want to be a part of the human family. He really doesn’t want to gather at the table with God’s other children, because he might have to sit with someone he hates. Iraqi soldiers, or someone like me. I really, really know this feeling. It is something he and I have in common.
Maybe that’s today’s inner project. Try to sit at the table, if even only in the imagination, with someone who is driving me crazy, someone with whom I really really disagree. Or maybe just try to watch the President on tv without hitting the mute button. Without hitting the mute button and without thinking about how much I despise and fear him.