Transforming Hatred into Compassion

January 31, 2012 By: celedra Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit, Touching the Sacred, Uncategorized

She began bringing workers over at 7am to work outside my bedroom window; she would walk into the house unannounced; she was generally mean, critical and intrusive.  Meanwhile, I was working and doing internships 6 days a week.  I had put myself through school and didn’t have a penny of extra money.  I felt powerless to legally fight for myself.  Suddenly, I could feel what so many millions of other people feel when faced with a sense of disempowerment.  My sanctuary had turned into a prison.  My meditation practice had turned into a jungle of resentment and fear.  I hated her for this. Where was my loving kindness practice?  Where was compassion?  Where was my own right action?

I knew that to change my external world, I needed the change my internal experience.  I found Pema Chodron’s book, Start Where You Are.  Tonglan.  Yes.  Daily, I sat at my alter, usually for an hour at a time.  After quieting my mind, I would see her sitting across from me.  I would breathe her anger and suffering into my heart.  As it touched my heart, the energy would spontaneously transform into the light of  love and kindness, which I would then breathe out from my heart to hers.  A gradual softening arose as I realized with tenderness that we were both angry, both afraid, both children inside that wanted love and peace.  Eventually we were one; both filled with love, one love.   Change was slow and subtle.  Nothing outside of me changed, but I began to feel stronger, more grounded.  Then one night, while at a friends home lying down with my eyes closed, I knew what I needed to do.  It was so clear.

It was as though I suddenly embodied myself and with it came enormous clarity.  There was no animosity, only right action.  I felt I’d awakened from a dream – and I was as calm as a lake.

The next morning I casually walked upstairs to find her in the kitchen.  I gently asked her to leave.  She refused.  I calmly walked downstairs, called the police and told them my story.  Within 10 minutes they were at the house and talking to her.  They asked her to leave.  They confirmed my rights.  My heart was open to both of us and filled with gratitude.  The situation dissolved.

She had been my teacher; tonglan my practice.



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4 Comments to “Transforming Hatred into Compassion”

  1. what I want in my life from your post:
    “gently”, “calmly”, “confirmed my rights”, “my heart was open”

    I recently learned of this tonglan, I tried it a few times, once in a setting where I became panicked, it felt like all the negative stuff was not leaving me, and then I stopped, gave up.
    Your post is encouragement to try again because I am seeking so much of what you achieved through the practice.

  2. Christina Van Houdt says:

    Love your story and love you Celedra.



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