Often I’ve heard the saying of “You are your own worst enemy” I have found that to be true in situations of being self critical and expecting more from myself that I can give. I find fault with myself easily which leads to guilt. This idea has also been reaffirmed to myself after reading the book of Love Your Enemies by Sharon Salzberg, Robert Thurman.
This is a really great thought provoking book that is based on the Buddhist philosophy. It states basically that we often label people as enemies but need to look past that and dismantle the label and look at the circumstances and our reactions to them.
This book introduces four types of situations that we easily fall into the labeling. We encounter the outer enemy which are composed of people, organizations, and incidents that may cause us harm; the inner enemy, our reaction to situations such as anger, fear, ect., the secret enemy, the walls we establish through isolation to reduce our pain by guarding our hearts; and the super-secret enemy, deep rooted self loathing, guilt and forgiveness of our selves which prevent us from finding true happiness. In truth all of these labeled ‘enemies’ cause us to react in anger and self defense from our perceptions.
I think what I learned most from this book is that if we take a hard look at those that aggravate us or highly dislike we can find a portion of ourselves and our own habits that really bother us. I could see I was really reacting to traits I did not want to have in my own life. It also helped me with questioning my dislike for a person or frustrated by an organization and see if I was reacting from fact or my own perceptions of what I thought was going on with the perceived motive.
Both authors build confidence in the reader by their background and experience.
Sharon Salzberg has been a student of Buddhism since 1971, and leading meditation retreats worldwide since 1974.
Tenzin Robert Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, holding the first endowed chair of Buddhist Studies in the United States. He serves as co-founder and president of Tibet House US, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the endangered culture of Tibet.
This book is a practical approach to identify who we feel are ‘our enemies’ and transform that belief into a relationship.
Included with this book is a meditation and exercises that help to work with our enemies.
Both authors have really different writing styles which I enjoyed because I felt it gave me twice the opportunity to grasp ideas presented in different ways.