Getting to know hate

Emotions are not right & wrong. Emotions are a natural part of being human. They are also extremely useful tools. They give us information about our wellbeing, about our environment & help us be informed when choosing to act. It is only when we try to suppress emotions that they become problematic. If we are completely unaware of our emotional state we can often act from this emotional state without realizing, then perhaps do things we might later regret.

Hate is an emotion that is often expected to be “sterilized”.  We are taught that hate is wrong. That we must choose love. This can be very confusing. Trying to replace hate with love like you’re flipping am imaginary switch can be very frustrating. 

I invite you to sit with hate. Get to know it. The more you get to know it and why it is there, the less it seems to have a grip on you. The less your actions seem to be controlled by this hatred & the possibility that you can hold space for this hate AND perhaps compassion or some other opposing emotion can begin to arise naturally without force.

Do you hate an action? Is it not correct to hate an action that caused harm? Is it not natural? If you focus on the action that you hate and truly see it, can you begin to see the human behind the action. Perhaps you can begin to see the terrible weight this person might be carrying as a result of their actions or perhaps you can see the trauma this person experienced to lead them to these actions. In doing this you are not condoning the actions but beginning to hold space for your own emotion so that the power of the emotion becomes less heavy, less begging to be heard & to be the star of the show. Less powerful & less for you to carry on your own journey. In doing this the possibility of holding love and compassion at the same time as hate becomes more natural than trying to force yourself to love.

Another question to ask yourself when exploring hate is “Do you hate a trait?” This is an opportunity for deep self enquiry. Is this a trait you fear in yourself? Is it a trait that leads to actions that cause you to be fearful?

Sometimes it is as if as collective humanity we bring to the forefront things we need to address in ourselves. There can be times in a physical part of a yoga class you might move in a certain way & suddenly feel the urge to cry or laugh. This is the body sending to the surface things that are ready to be released. I suggest, sometimes the ugliest traits of humanity are brought to the forefront to show us what we need to address as a whole. I suggest that we do not need to replace hate with love but to understand and get to know hate so well that it no longer has such a strong grip on us. That we can begin to see it as not something terrifying but something that needs to be addressed, needs to be processed so that when we choose our actions it becomes more and more natural to act from a place of love and understanding. Love does have the power to heal. Love does has the power to make change but only when it is not forced or fake. 

How can we love one another when we are often struggling to find love & compassion for ourselves? I believe that when we stop judging ourselves & our emotions it opens space for love to win the constant internal battle. As we familiarize ourselves with all parts of ourselves & stop trying to suppress, hide or force change into ourselves, it becomes easier & more natural for us to CHOOSE or actions from our loving side without pretending hate doesn’t exist.

Full 60 minute yoga class exploring hate

Further Exploration in emotions with Alan Watts