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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Hatred?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Hatred

Causes of Hatred

We can say that our problem is the ego, the self, but there is no ego or self except what manifests in our consciousness. To understand how hatred functions, it helps to know how it got there. Generally speaking, the causes of hatred originate on two levels. The first level, which I call the psychodynamic, relates to our personal history. From the time of our childhood, we have not been sufficiently loved. Maybe we have been hated, disregarded, humiliated, or treated as though we didn’t exist; maybe we’ve felt guilty or bad, or hated ourselves for things that were done to us or that we have done. The frustration that develops in us through interacting with our environment plus many of the things we learn from others generate a lot of hatred. The specifics vary depending on the circumstances of one’s life, but it almost never happens that someone escapes the effects of hatred. The second level is our lack of understanding, our ignorance about how consciousness works. We can recognize that there are obstacles to our freedom, barriers to our inner peace that make it seem impossible to just be ourselves without struggling all the time. But, as we have seen, because we don’t understand how things function, we end up believing that the way to deal with these impediments is to get rid of them—to remove or annihilate the obstacles, just as we tend to do in the physical world. This is the only way we think we can have peace and quiet and release from suffering. We don’t know that by doing this, we are perpetuating the same suffering, the same frustration. We are dividing ourselves and acting inside ourselves in a destructive way. Our actions dissociate us from ourselves and prevent our True Nature from revealing itself in its purity and richness. So we get stuck in a misinformed, misguided attempt at realization, at freedom, at achieving nirvana.

Dividing Ourselves

At a deeper place, hatred implies self-hatred because hatred itself already reflects a duality: There is me and the other or me and what I hate, which is bound to be a duality within the self as well. Since in truth we are not a duality—we are an expression of the beingness of everything—if we hate anything, we are dividing ourselves, our awareness; we are hating part of our own consciousness. And we are separating ourselves from the oneness of our nature. It cannot be any other way.

Hatred is a Reaction while Love is Being

It is our nature to love. We are the source of love. We cannot help but have love somewhere; love always underlies any relationship. If there is no love, there is ultimately no relationship. The fact that there is love is absolute—whether you feel the love or not, it is there. When we take one side of the relationship and focus our attention on it and fail to see the other part we are not allowing love. Sometimes there is love and there is no hatred and no negativity, but there is never hatred with no love, because hatred is a reaction, while love is being; it is not a reaction. Love is the flow of your nature. Hatred is the reaction to that flow being blocked, that’s all. Whenever there is hatred, whenever there is negativity, there is love somewhere. If there was no love, there would be no hatred.

Hatred of Life

And if we see this as the hatred that powers the inner activity fundamental to ego, then it is evident that it is actually hatred of life—the uncontrollable, dynamic flow of life. In the realm of inner work, this hatred is directed toward our own experience, toward ourselves. So, we need to recognize and understand our hatred, see its manifestations, and see how it acts to try to change our experience. When you say that you want to reject your experience, change it, or make it better, the inner impulse is actually to obliterate it, to destroy it, to make it not be there, because it is not wanted.

Object Relations Centered Around Aggression

What we find is a group of object relations centered around powerful aggression, rage, and hatred on the one hand, and intense instinctual and animal-like devouring desire and wanting on the other. The student experiences herself as an instinctual animal organism, sometimes as an intensely emotional infant, and sometimes as a more primitive structure like a powerful and primitive animal – a leopard or panther. She feels either rageful and hateful, wanting to destroy the self-object that failed her, or she experiences a deep, lustful, powerful, and devouring hunger and wanting. The self-object she perceives is either a person, a group, or the whole world. The hateful-destructive object relation is usually reversed at the beginning; so she first projects her power and hatred onto the object, feeling that she is small, weak, helpless, generally good, but paranoid and terrified of the all-bad powerful looming object. Transformation of this object relation through precise understanding of its meaning and etiology leads to the integration of the aspect of essential personal Power. One then experiences oneself imbued with natural power, an amazing fullness that feels both alive and forbidding. This is the power of the primal self of the oral stage, which was distorted by frustration of the attempt to gain the orally fulfilling narcissistic support and enhancement in early childhood.

The Attempt to Eliminate Frustration by Annihilating It

Hatred is fake power; it is black, but a dull, thick blackness. Hatred arises when we haven't actualized the true power of the Black Essence. It is due to frustration in the face of difficulties. Hatred arises when you feel powerless, for it is an attempt to eliminate the frustration by annihilating it. You want to annihilate whatever problem you have, whatever is in your way, whether it is an inner or outer frustration. You want to make it disappear. True Black power does that, but through understanding instead of through aggression. Aggression only creates more frustration. But if you inquire into hatred itself, it transforms into power. Just as you would inquire into anything else, you want to feel hatred, be open to it, welcome it, see what it is about. Where did it come from? What is it trying to do? Feel it fully -- without resistance, without judgment, and without acting it out. That by itself unfolds it to reveal the truth lying within it, which is true power.

The Energy of Hatred Limits Awareness

History has demonstrated what we have also discovered internally to be true: Hatred is a particular energy that can destroy because it doesn't have heart, it doesn't have love, it doesn't have the sensitivity and the attunement of kindness and gentleness. It is a very effective instrument of destruction. But it is effective at the expense of our sensitivity, at the expense of our attunement, at the expense of our awareness and consciousness. It obliterates by removing sensitivity. So it tends to diminish and limit our awareness, to flatten it.

The Power of Self Hatred

We have seen that the most effective motivation for our practice is kindness, which is compassionate in the sense that it is helpful, but which also has a quality of appreciativeness, a lovingness that reflects the energy of True Nature as it manifests its possibilities. We can see that the natural flow of our experience is fueled by love. In contrast, ego activity—especially when it gets obsessive—reveals an energy powering it that is very different in nature. If we observe carefully, we discover that the incessant, obsessive attempt to change ourselves, to improve ourselves, to be something different, is actually powered by self-hatred. This may be difficult or painful to consider, but think about how much we criticize ourselves, judge ourselves, attack ourselves, reject ourselves, push and pull ourselves. What is behind it? Why would we want to be so violent toward ourselves?

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