Question of the Day: “How do I love the people I dislike?”

Since the actions at the Capitol last week, I have felt angry. These feelings of anger fuel my derisive words and dark thoughts. Each story I see only adds to the frustration and hatred of the people who had the desire to angrily storm and threaten our government. I feel personally affronted and I have posted numerous comments and memes on my private Facebook page that derides them. As I mocked and jeered the violence that was committed against them as well, I felt justified in my hatred. “These people” were disgusting to me and I wished them only harm and misfortune.

The entire time these words were spewing from me it felt erroneous. Don’t get me wrong. It definitely felt good in the moment when I could sit back and watch them reap the consequences of their actions, but there was a part of me that knew this was not the way. It could never be the way. These other feelings caused me to wake up this morning with a unexpected question: “How do I love the people I dislike?”

Every spiritual practice and teacher I have ever read or had has stressed the importance of embracing the darkest part of ourselves. Isn’t part of this journey towards enlightenment about loving ourselves and others and knowing that love is the only true thing? Wasn’t all of that meditation and soul searching an opportunity to grow and awaken to the truth? How many signs do I need to see to finally see that we are truly all connected?

If I believe that we are all connected, then I am connected to the people who raged and destroyed last week. Despite our connection, I cannot control their actions. I can only control mine.

If I truly believe my job on this earth is to bring light to others and help them process their emotions, then I cannot turn away from those whose actions are in direct contrast to my views.

I am in no way saying that the people who are threatening violence on others and spreading their vitriol and hate should be given a pass or not held to the highest levels of justice, but do they also deserve my hate? Wouldn’t my understanding be so much more useful?

Because if I seek to understand how they could get to this spot where they felt it necessary and true to destroy and harm others with their anger, I must also understand my own role in it. People who do these things do not feel loved, not love on the deepest level. This type of love allows people to blossom and flourish. No, those on the Capitol were not people who were raised with a deep sense of love and truth. These were those whose hopes and dreams have died on the vine. They have been left out and their disconnection from others and their own emotions showed them only one path forward, and no loving force could reach them then.

As I watched the videos, I saw violent people pushing and punching, but I saw other things as well. I saw a barricade being pushed forward, knocking one police officer to the ground. Three of the rioters walked over to the police officer and helped her up and seemed to apologize. When people were banging through the glass on the wooden door, I saw a few of them turn and realize things were going to far. I saw them trying to stop them with their hands up as they pushed back through the crowd to get away from the fray.

Again, these small actions mean little in light of the terrible havoc that ripped through the Capitol on Tuesday, but they also can’t be swept away and ignored. We owe it to ourselves as a society to change the way things are done in this country. We have a chance to bring enlightenment and love into our society, but it starts with individuals looking with love even when we don’t feel like we can.

I, for one, am just going to stop my angry, jeering words, and I am going to stop justifying my actions and continue to see how we are all connected. Perhaps if I merely turn my perspective towards love, love can have the space to appear.

Love and Light, All.