Friday, April 30, 2010

The Difficult Person

A couple of blogs back, I revealed that there is a difficult person in my life. Although this person may not even know that I exist, and although we've never actually met, I have been causing myself (and my family) some unnecessary suffering because of my clinging and aversion associated with this person.

Most of this suffering takes the form of anger and ill-will (with its subtle colorings of jealousy, insecurity, and fear). Now that this experience has been identified as one of the Five Hindrances, it can be dealt with skillfully. 

The antidote to the Hindrance of anger and ill-will is loving kindness. Now, whenever this person comes to mind, I say a couple of quick phrases from the loving kindness (metta) meditation practice. 
May your life be filled with loving kindness.
May your life be peaceful and easy.
May you be happy.
May you be safe; protected from inner and outer harm.
May you be healthy in body, heart, and mind.
Saying metta for a difficult person can work wonders. We can begin to understand why that person may be difficult toward us, both from their perpsecttive, and from ours. Compassion begins to take the place of ill-will, and our need to hold onto the anger decreases. This allows the tight fist to open, and the clinging to be released.

The person is still here. They will do what they will do, but what they do doesn't bother me as much. And I am suffering less.

Factored in, as well, is a component of loving kindness, forgiveness, and compassion for myself. By sending the metta toward myself that I send to my difficult person, I am turning a powerful force inward. This helps me to accept, appreciate, and love myself more fully, making the need to feel jealous or insecure meaningless.
Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed. This is an ancient and eternal law. ~ The Buddha

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