I had a lot of feelings when reading this article on Overcoming Ill Will.
First, I was really hoping that there'd be some "easy fix" for me – some neatly-packaged, 3-step way to deal with "those who anger us." This is, of course, something that's really top-of-mind for me lately, especially the last month (holy *$%^, how has it only been a month??!?!).
The first time through the article, I found that there was helpful advice in several analogies (oh, The Hoofprint Puddle, The Sick Traveler!). But of course, almost immediately, my positivity turned into (light) despair, as I had pretty much no faith that I'd be able to accomplish this level of..."enlightenment"?
And then I laughed in appreciation as the author, Bhante Henepola Gunaratana – basically in anticipation of my kind of reaction – pulls no punches:
Others might give up and over time get tired and burn out. They might blame metta, saying it doesn’t work; while it is a normal reaction to blame something that doesn’t work, look closely. If you do something haphazardly and fail, don’t blame the system. Find out what could be done differently and make the necessary adjustments.
Now that I'm reflecting on this more, I've decided I will choose to be aspirational about it. Obviously, I'm not at this level of loving-friendliness or loving-kindness yet, but maybe! One day!
We know that we need to overcome whatever ill will remains in our minds toward others, but we are tempted to fall into old patterns of judging and distancing ourselves from them.
And I try to remember: