Hello Everyone, Welcome to the podcast “Close to the Bone.” I’m Carl Vreeland.
Before I begin, I’m excited to announce the launching of my new website, which took place last week on January 23rd. The domain name is carltvreeland.com, that’s my name including my middle initial. On the site, you’ll find a page to the podcast, a blog page, a link to my new YouTube channel, 12 Steps to Heaven, in which I speak about alcoholism, drug addiction, and depression, and such. There are also streaming Yoga classes and classes for download, and much more. Please have a look, there’s lots of free and low-cost content. OK, back to the podcast. . .
This is episode #20, entitled, Hate is Hate is Hate.
Martin Luther King Jr. refused to live with hate in his heart. He knew better. He didn’t hate racists. He saw them as human beings who were suffering, for they lived with hate in their hearts. He didn’t hate the politicians and leaders whom were obstacles to the Civil Rights Movement. He didn’t hate white men. He didn’t hate America’s past. For if he did, he would have distanced himself from his heart, from love, and from God. He would have willingly drank the devil’s poison, as it were. More than that, the Civil Rights Movement would have been unsuccessful.
When will we learn that hate breeds hate. There are no excuses or exceptions to this notion. Whether it be a greedy, selfish government leader, a racist neighbor, or an opinionated work colleague, no one else’s behavior should be an excuse for us to be hateful, uncivil, disrespectful, resentful, and retaliatory. It is unwise, it is unspiritual, if you will. We cannot willingly let people, events, and circumstances compromise our integrity and turn us hateful. By doing so, we destroy our usefulness, our inner-peace, and our soul. Moreover, we cannot wait until things go our way in the world, we cannot wait until a leader is impeached to let go of our anger. This way of being takes us off the spiritual path, and it steers us away from a higher purpose. We cannot wait fours years, living with anger, resentment and hate toward a leader, hoping for the next election to go our way so we can live in peace. See, resentments are progressive, much like alcoholism and drug addiction, in that, overtime they become more rooted, they get a stronghold on us, and they do long-term damage to us, and everyone around us. Hence, healing then becomes more of an arduous and lengthly process. And the divide between our brothers and sisters, who see the things differently than us, becomes wider and stronger.
So, what can we do to avoid another four years of hate and division? Well, we must let go of our resentments, we must pray for our opponents and forgive them. And we must forgive ourselves as well; for hating. You might be thinking, “Well, I have every right to hate!” Sure, but remember; hate is hate is hate. When you live with hate, it’s like, again it’s like drinking poison. You are letting someone else or some thing steal your peace. Yes, you have every right to hate, that is, if you want to imprison yourself in chains of anger and bitterness.
We must get off our high-horse, stop self-righteously and hatefully shouting at others, “You are bad, you are wrong, you’re a racist and you need to stop being a racist!” How is this any different than the racist you are screaming at? Just a racist may hate you, you hate racists. You have hate in your heart just like them. And having hate in your heart doesn’t stop them from being a racist, it prevents you from enjoying life, and it does harm to you and others. We must stop the cycle of hate. When anger comes, when resentments crop up, when hate comes, when feelings of revenge arise, we must nip them in the bud. We must let go and forgive. It’s up to us to put an end to the hate in the world. Indeed, it’s up to everyone, but it starts with us.
We cannot wipe out racism, or convert a racist by way of hate, by way of belittling and demeaning and demonizing. Again, hate breeds hate. Truth is, we are more likely making a racist more racist by hating them. To quote Martin Luther King, “Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.” Again, we must get off our high-horse, step down off the morally pure movement wagon, and let him or her who is without sin, cast the first stone. A racist is a sick-minded human being who needs help – attacking them won’t help them. Attacking them won’t change them. Hating them won’t change their mind. To quote Maya Angelou, “Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”
No doubt, a racist has hate in their heart. But essentially, and again, how is this any different from us hating racists? Many self-righteously slam their fellow human beings who are hateful. They are too blind to see that a racist is a racist for a reason. They have a history, they likely had racist parents and likely triggering experiences. They are victims of their upbringings and circumstances. Again, racists are suffering inside. They have hate in their hearts. But again, hate is hate is hate. I have seen my friends, family, and more than half the country, angry and resentful for four or more years toward a political leader; and they have suffered. Now that he is gone, they breathe a sigh of relief. Yet, they still live with hate in their hearts, toward the thought of him, the mention of him, toward his supporters, and sadly for some, toward their family members and friends. They live with toxic resentments, letting hate contaminate them.
Let’s pause. What happens when we go to our hearts, to God, to compassion? What if we were to think of a racist as a child, a child who was once innocent. A child who was misguided. One who grew sick, whose soul was stomped on. How can you blame a child for being misdirected. In this sense, is it their fault that they are hateful? Sure, the ones who are adults now, are capable of change, and they should, but it’s hard to change, isn’t it? Have you changed? It’s not easy, is it? We are all works in progress, although some are not as lucky as we are. Their denial is thick. How lucky it is to awaken, to be graced. The walls of denial are hard to break.
All that said, there are racists, like many misguided beings, who are a danger to society. In this case, they surely need to be behind bars. Nonetheless, we shouldn’t hate them, again, it only harms us and steals our peace. Martin Luther King said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” So, how can we let go of hate and resentments? Well, for one, we can pray for our enemy. They are suffering, so we should pray for them, no? Do you want peace? Then pray. Meditate. Let go of your hate and anger. Stop drinking the poison.
So, let’s go back to our former presidential leader. There was so much anger and hate toward him. For four years, half the population lived with anger due to one man, or seemingly so. Why? Why let anyone take away our joy? Why let our tribal instincts take over? “We are right, and he and his followers are wrong. They are bad people.” Yet others felt differently. Whatever the truth may be, it is not relevant. We must look deeper as to why this all happened. That is, why we lost it. We must look at our fears. Fear, in my opinion, is always the underlying culprit. Fear blinds us. When fears consumes us, aggression, hate, and violence comes. And sometimes collapse and debilitation comes, which has been the case for many during this pandemic. Waiting for this virus to go away, while life goes on, while life is passing us by, it’s all due to fear. Fear has overwhelmed many people. It’s been almost a year now, live your life, stop waiting for the right conditions. But I digress. . . .
If we analyze things, really think it through, the fear we were witnessing was, as they say, false evidence appearing real. Our former leader we no dictator type, he had no ideology. And this was sadly overlooked. He was simply a greedy, selfish, and uncouth man. I say this, not in defense of our former leader, but in defense of wisdom. In defense of wisdom that was stifled because of fear. Wisdom, insight, and clarity is only available to us by way of our inner-intelligence and Grace, and can only be received and recognized when our hearts of free of hate. Hate prevents clarity. Hate blocks us from the Light of wisdom, from Love, from God, and from Truth.
I’m reminded of a very powerful understanding that the great Alan Watts spoke about back in the 60’s, and this is a long, but necessary quote, to make my point.
“Confucius once said that goody-goodies are the thieves of virtue. . . . Virtue in Chinese is teh. . . . And it means virtue, not in the sense of moral propriety, but virtue in the sense of magic, as when we speak of the healing virtues of a certain plant. A man of true virtue is therefore a human-hearted man. And the meaning of this is, that one should above all trust human nature, in the full recognition that it’s both good and bad, that is, both loving and selfish. Now let me give an illustration of the wisdom of this. When people fight wars, I trust them, if the reason for which they fight a war is to expropriate someone else’s possessions and women. Because they will fight a merciful war. They will not destroy the possessions and the women that they want to capture. . . . And that’s a war based on simply, ordinary, everyday human greed. The most awful wars that are waged are the wars waged for moral principles. ‘You are a lousy communist. You have a philosophy that is destructive to religion and to everything that we love and value, reverence, and therefore we will exterminate you to the last man unless you surrender unconditionally.’ Such wars are ruthless beyond belief. We can blow up whole cites, wipe people out because we are not greedy. We are righteous. That is why the goody-goodies are the thieves of virtue. If you’re going to do something evil, do it for a plain, honest, selfish motive. Don’t do it in the name of God. Because if you do, it turns you into a monster who is no longer human“ (Watts, Alan. Lecture. Man and Nature).
We must be vigilant, righteous anger and hate can turn us into monsters. That said, with Alan Watt’s insight in mind, firstly, our former leader had no moral principles nor ideology, so much of our fear was unfounded. He was simple greedy and self-centered. Secondly, I believe fear came about among the populace due to a lack of trust and faith in our constitution and system of government. Which led to more fear. Again, our fears were largely unfounded, as we can hopefully see now. Still and all, whether we disagree with this view or not, fear and anger must be looked at, and worked through, if we are to live without hate. We must reflect on the last fours years, not just play the blame game. We all played a role in the state of things. If we are to learn and grow, we must look at ourselves. Hate, fear, anger, are an inside job. Our new administration can’t fix us. And unity, civility, respect, will not come to pass by some presidential role model or figurehead, or by some legislation. Yes, it may help, but we cannot not rely on externals, people, places, and things if we are to live in peace. Unification only really happens when we compromise and cooperate with one another. If we hope or expect people to be like us, to be in line with our morality, to view the world as we do, believe as we believe, choose our religion, whether that religion is Christianity or science, we will be waiting forever. Again, love, freedom from fear, anger and hate is an inside job. We need to look at why we hate, and why we need someone to hate, and to fear, and to lash out at. Of course, we should fight injustice and elect strong, positive leaders. But let us keep in mind – as we try to make the world a better place – that it starts with us, our thoughts, our words, and our actions and behaviors.
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