Mindful Enemies

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

– One of my favorite quotes and one that speaks to mindfulness quite eloquently. Do you have an enemy? We don’t often let ourselves use such a strong term. How about someone in your life who you feel is holding you back? Causing you pain or anxiety? If we use these descriptors to define “enemy” we might be including spouses, parents, friends, even children! The problem with holding on to these negative feelings is that they trigger the nervous system, and take us out of the present moment.

Resentment, holding on to a grudge, is like feeding yourself poison in an attempt to harm someone else.

A wise person once said resentment is like taking poison in an attempt to harm someone else.

Stop taking the poison.  If you’re feeling caught up in resentment, take a few moments to rest in mindfulness. Let us know if we can help.

Read what the Dalai Lama has to say about transforming resentment.

Hours after I wrote this post I read this story of forgiveness in YES! magazine.

We wish you twenty minutes of peace today!

9 thoughts on “Mindful Enemies

  1. Bayside Psychotherapy says:

    This topic is huge. There’s probably a fine line between defense and what might be an authentic forgiveness and acceptance of the other who has harmed. I observe clients for instance who understandably repress their resentments of their enemies and convince themselves that they have no resentment.

    Maybe the process of inwardly thinking about our enemies is a bit like grief, which ends in acceptance as long as the other stages aren’t skipped?

    Perhaps the Buddhist Tonglen practice is aimed at helping transform our relationships with our enemies too?

  2. Bayside Psychotherapy says:

    This topic is huge. There’s probably a fine line between defense and what might be an authentic forgiveness and acceptance of the other who has harmed. I observe clients for instance who understandably repress their resentments of their enemies and convince themselves that they have no resentment.

    Maybe the process of inwardly thinking about our enemies is a bit like grief, which ends in acceptance as long as the other stages aren’t skipped?

    Perhaps the Buddhist Tonglen practice is aimed at helping transform our relationships with our enemies too?

  3. Bayside Psychotherapy says:

    This topic is huge. There’s probably a fine line between defense and what might be an authentic forgiveness and acceptance of the other who has harmed. I observe clients for instance who understandably repress their resentments of their enemies and convince themselves that they have no resentment.

    Maybe the process of inwardly thinking about our enemies is a bit like grief, which ends in acceptance as long as the other stages aren’t skipped?

    Perhaps the Buddhist Tonglen practice is aimed at helping transform our relationships with our enemies too?

  4. mindfulhub says:

    Hi:
    I agree, forgiveness does feel like grief sometimes. Do you think this is a letting go of ego? I tell my clients to try to break forgiveness down into manageable chunks. Forgiveness is not a one-shot deal, but something we can do over and over again – some days are easier than others. Thanks for your thoughts!
    Donna

  5. mindfulhub says:

    Hi:
    I agree, forgiveness does feel like grief sometimes. Do you think this is a letting go of ego? I tell my clients to try to break forgiveness down into manageable chunks. Forgiveness is not a one-shot deal, but something we can do over and over again – some days are easier than others. Thanks for your thoughts!
    Donna

  6. mindfulhub says:

    Hi:
    I agree, forgiveness does feel like grief sometimes. Do you think this is a letting go of ego? I tell my clients to try to break forgiveness down into manageable chunks. Forgiveness is not a one-shot deal, but something we can do over and over again – some days are easier than others. Thanks for your thoughts!
    Donna

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