Love Your Enemies
Self Improvement, Empowerment, Inspirational, Spirituality
Life has a way of thwarting our plans, leaving even the most sainted of us frustrated and fearful at times. But losing our cool causes more problems than it solves. So when people and circumstances conspire against us, how can we douse the white-hot fires of rage? How can we break the cycle of hurt, anger, and revenge to find inner peace and coexist peacefully with the world?
In Love Your Enemies, Sharon Salzberg and Tenzin Robert Thurman draw on ancient spiritual wisdom, modern psychology, and the latest neuroscience to guide us in dealing with troublesome people and situations, and overcoming the real source of our distress, our deep-seated self-centeredness and self-hatred. Based on the popular workshop they teach together, the authors offer practical methods for transforming our relationship to our outer, inner, secret, and super-secret enemies. Thurman, a noted Columbia University professor and former Tibetan Buddhist monk, brings to life traditional wisdom teachings such as Shantideva's advice on replacing anger with patience, and the practice of exchanging self-preoccupation for compassion set out by Dharmarakshita. Salzberg mines her experiences as a leading teacher of insight and lovingkindness meditation to relate real-life examples of putting the teachings into practice.
Together, the two perspectives give us a well-rounded course in conquering our outer and inner enemies. The material is presented in a warm, accessible manner that welcomes spiritual seekers of all levels, from newcomer to dedicated practitioner.
Love You Enemies begins by going over the types of outer enemies we may run into in life. These include bullies, co-works, bosses and other outside influences that make us hate ourselves and them. Then we get into the inner enemies/demons. You will learn how to forgive, to move on and how to accept the things that happen in life. You will learn how to push back your instant anger and how to see enemies, both inside and out, as stepping stones on the path to the real you.
This is an amazing book that truly will have you looking at things differently. I love that it doesn't just tell you what to do, it walks you through it. This book also include a fabulous Basic Meditation. I really believe that meditation is an important thing for day to day life, just like prayer. It helps us relax, let go, learn and live.
I plan to keep this book close to me. Beyond the inner and outer enemy, there lies the Secret and Super-Secret enemy. These are the nasty ones I need to continue working on. According to the book, the secret enemy is that "which isolates us from other people, leaving us frustrated and alone." I think this is the little demon to blame for my struggles with social anxiety. The super-secret enemy is that "deep-seated self-loathing that keeps us from finding inner freedom and true happiness." I have this one down for the most part, but we all have our bad days!
If you are interested in this book (and you should be) you can purchase it from Amazon, B&N, Hay House, and Indigo.
*In an effort towards full disclosure, I must let you know that I received this book free from Hay House for review purposes.
Love Your Enemies by Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman is guide for tackling your "enemies" using tools made popular by Buddhist tradition such as lovingkindess, but also simple acts like forgiveness and patience. "Enemies" may be outer enemies such as environmental stimuli or a person doing something either directly or indirectly. Or "enemies" can be inner enemies - three to be exact: inner enemies such as emotions, secret enemies such as self-centeredness, or super secret enemies such as deep, unconscious thoughts and emotions we may not even be aware of.
Tenzin Robert Thurman is one of the first Western Buddhist Monks and a co-author of Love Your Enemies. There are many Buddhist principles presented to help deal with any and all "enemies" but even individuals unfamiliar with Buddhism would be comfortable with the simple principles as mentioned above - kindness, patience, and forgiveness for oneself and for others. In his introduction to the book, Thurman points out that we are and can often be the cause of a problem as well as its solution.
Love Your Enemies is brimming with uplifting stories and examples of how people have overcome each one of these "enemies". Near the end of the book is a very basic meditation to help the reader how to focus on their breath and bring their awareness into the here and now. Also are exercises for working with outer and inner "enemies" that expand upon the concepts from all earlier chapters. The book itself is full of information that anyone new to mindfulness based work would easily benefit from.
This is my review of Love Your Enemies by Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman. I acknowledge that I received this book free from Hay House Publishing to review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment.
When I read the title of this book, my first question was, “How can I love people who’ve hurt me if I’m labeling them ‘enemies’?” I’ve learned that as soon as I see someone as separate from me and label him or her, I’m acting out of my ego, which means I cannot really love a person I call enemy.
Early into the reading, however, Thurman answered my question. He clarifies that “ultimately, we have no enemies. We think of an enemy as someone—or something—that blocks our happiness. But no other being can block our happiness; true happiness comes from within. Therefore, ultimately, we have no enemies.”
Salzberg and Thurman use the term “enemy” so we can clearly understand the message of love and acceptance they share with us. The book offers tools we can put in practice any time to come to terms with our so-called enemies. I especially enjoyed the basic and specialized meditations in the Appendix.
Also, the authors explain how “love” means to “wish for the happiness of someone,” so if we send thoughts of happiness to our enemies, we might not only bring happiness to these human beings (who are probably tormented as a result of their own actions,) but also achieve inner peace.
The most thought-provoking aspect of this book is the idea that we all have four kinds of enemies:
1. The outer enemy (people or institutions who’ve hurt us and situations that frustrate us.)
2. The inner enemy (negative emotions such as anger, hatred, and fear.)
3. The secret enemy (sense of disconnection from other people, which the authors call self-obsession and self-preoccupation.)
4. The super-secret enemy (lack of self-love—even at a subconscious level.)
The four kinds of enemies match the spiritual teachings that guide us to overcome expressions of the ego: a sense of separation from others, attachment to ideas and to the way things “should be,” and disconnection with our True Selves (love.)
Love Your Enemies helps us develop conscious awareness that if we don’t let go of our grudges, we won’t be hurting our enemies, but we’ll be hurting ourselves.
Sending thoughts of happiness to those who’ve harmed us isn’t something to be achieved in a day. Loving everyone is a practice, and as we grow into this practice, we’ll stop being offended easily, align with people who share our values, and let go of our personal history. I believe we need to focus on the latter. Embracing the emotions brought about by our past traumas and releasing these emotions are the healthiest steps we can take to achieve authentic happiness.
Love Your Enemies is a book written with love for the sake of love.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.