Learning to Love by Easwaran Eknath

Learning to Love by Easwaran Eknath

Author:Easwaran, Eknath [Easwaran, Eknath]
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Publisher: Nilgiri Press
Published: 2012-01-30T05:00:00+00:00

Loving Forgiveness

We can learn to extend our love wider and wider; without exaggeration, there is no limit to its extent. Even if for the present we can love only one person – and then only when the circumstances are just right – by daring to face difficult situations with understanding and good will, we can learn to love even people who dislike us. To me, nothing is more miraculous.

Estrangements, as all of us know, can drag on for months or years, sometimes between blood relatives. Parents and children fall out with each other; brothers who rode tricycles together, built tree houses, played football, and took their dates to the prom together, no longer speak to each other because of a quarrel over money or property. Co-workers, neighbors, one-time friends become alienated without realizing the terrible impact it has on consciousness.

“But I have grievances,” we may say, “legitimate grievances. Isn’t it natural to react with anger to the wrongs we have endured?” I agree: there is an inborn tendency in us to fight back or move away from people we dislike. Instinct is a powerful force; we are used to obeying it without question. But every such force in consciousness can be transformed. As human beings, all of us have the capacity to take our evolution into our own hands and act not compulsively, but from free choice. If we hate because we are hated, injure because we are injured, we have no freedom; instinct has thrust its fingers up inside us as if we were a child’s puppet. One finger goes into the arm, and we find ourselves hurling a piece of crockery; another opens the mouth and wags the tongue, and we hear ourselves saying, “Drop dead!”

When we hate someone we are bound to that person, just as if we felt affection. Often we cannot stop thinking about what we wish we could say or do to him: “Wouldn’t I like to give so-and-so a piece of my mind!” Little things make us think of that person; he may even appear in our dreams. What a paradox! Here is someone we cannot stand, someone we go out of our way to avoid, yet we carry him around with us constantly. Part of our mind conjures up his image – which may not correspond to reality at all – and another part of the mind, dwelling on that image, flies into a rage.

Almost every estrangement can be mended if one person involved is willing and able to forgive. How easy to repay in kind – “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”! But just try to reverse the course of your mind when anger breaks loose. The Buddha compares the furious mind to a runaway chariot: only those with courage and endurance can control it; the others, borne helplessly about, simply finger the reins.

When we forgive, we wipe the slate clean. We choose to live, not in remembrance of the past, but in the present. We choose to trust, rather than live in fear of the future.


Learning to Love by Easwaran Eknath.mobi

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